The Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training (Minefop) in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has launched the "Opportunities for Refugees" online platform. Developed by the UNHCR in partnership with Plan International and the Cameroon Youth School Tech Incubator (Caysti), this innovative tool aims to bridge the gap between refugee graduates and the job market by connecting them with employment opportunities, facilitating access to capital, and providing resources for professional development.
The creation of this platform aligns with the DAFI (Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative) scholarship program, a UNHCR initiative dedicated to increasing refugee enrollment in higher education. The platform's goal is to empower refugee graduates to contribute meaningfully to Cameroon's economy and development by equipping them with the necessary skills and resources to secure employment and thrive in the professional world.
As of September 30, 2023, Cameroon was hosting 477,277 registered refugees from various nationalities, including 474,378 Central African and Nigerian refugees residing in the East, Adamaoua, North, and Far North regions. These refugees face significant challenges in accessing decent employment, with only 1% of the over 220,000 refugees over the age of 18 living in Cameroon holding a university degree and an even smaller percentage securing formal employment, according to the UNHCR.
Despite the government's policy of inclusiveness enshrined in the 2005 law defining the status of refugees in Cameroon, which grants them the same employment rights as nationals, refugee graduates continue to face barriers to employment. The "Opportunities for Refugees" platform aims to address these challenges by providing a centralized platform for connecting refugee graduates with employment opportunities, fostering their entrepreneurial spirit, and enhancing their employability through targeted training and professional development initiatives.
This platform materializes an agreement between the UNHCR, Minefop, Plan International, and Caysti to promote the socio-economic integration of refugee graduates in Cameroon. The partnership agreement signed on February 24, 2021, outlines the commitment of these organizations to work together over the next five years to ensure the inclusion and integration of refugees in the Cameroon job market.