Skip to content

Youth inclusion and education - 3 questions for Gilles Yabi

Cphoto_gilles_yabi_wathi_by_watucrop.pngOMMITTED TO EMPOWERING SOCIALLY AT-RISK YOUNG PEOPLE

In a complex global economy context, unemployment and precariousness of young people have worriying human and economic consequences all over the world. Based on the principle that there can be no sustainable development without professional and social inclusion for young people, Total believes that it has a responsibility to contribute to making a positive social impact in the 130 countries where it operates. Beyond its economic contribution, the Group is determined to provide young people who have been left behind by the system with opportunities to reach their full potential and to help socially vulnerable young people become independent In partnership with schools, non-profits organizations and businesses operating in its regions, Total is developing various training and entrepreneurship support programs as well as academic support initiatives.


3 questions to Gilles Yabi

In Africa, where youth represent over 60% of the population, Gilles Yabi believes that there is no more important and urgent task than to massively invest in educational systems that are adapted to the immense challenges the African continent faces.

A political analyst with a PhD in development economics, he is the founder and director of the citizen think tank WATHI, which is devoted to generating solutions aimed at “changing the present and future” in West Africa.


Why are you particularly interested in the challenges of primary and secondary education in Africa?

We chose to start a debate on primary and secondary education because education in its broadest, most inclusive sense, needs to be the top priority across the whole continent. Making education important is the key to building peaceful societies that combine economic progress, political stability, limiting inequalities, dignity and cultural vitality. This art of training minds, from birth to the ends of our lives, is essential. It is not only expertise that we need to pass on, but also the knowledge to learn and social skills.


How are the challenges of primary and secondary education related to all the other emerging challenges in Africa?

The WATHI approach is cross-cutting and focuses on the region’s structuring issues. Regardless of the topic addressed, including creating jobs for young people (a vital priority for the continent), protecting the environment, establishing lasting democratic political systems and reducing all inequalities, including those related to gender, a large part of the solution lies in the field of education. I strongly believe that the outlook for peace and security in Africa depends greatly on the efforts we make to reinvent and strengthen our educational systems, in which primary and secondary education, both general and vocational, are the pillars. Children are expected to spend more than 10 years in school before reaching maturity.


What are the priorities for improving the quality of training?

Teachers training, coaching and supervision must be the priority. We also need to review our programs and become very pragmatic by focusing on basic skills to facilitate children’s inclusion in their environments, with coursework in reading and writing in local African and international languages, as well as the basics of scientific thinking. It is necessary to give back their place to civic education, knowledge of the cultural heritage, environmental awareness and financial management and to strongly increase the appeal of technical and vocational training.