The month of record

Benin: PSIE, a program to strengthen the employability of youth 

Initiated by President Patrice Talon in 2020, the Special Program for Youth Employment (PSIE) aims to help young Beninese graduates to acquire a first professional experience. Detailed review of an initiative to follow. 

By Ulrich Viany, in Cotonou

Officially launched on June 15, 2020, the Special Program for Youth Employment (PSIE) is an innovative solution to the problem of sustainable integration of young job applicants. The general principle of the PSIE is simple: the State subsidizes the payment of jobs in local companies in order to, on the one hand, satisfy the quantitative and qualitative needs in human resources of the companies concerned, and on the other hand, to accompany the learning needs of young graduates in a marked professional environment. 

In fact, in a country where the poverty rate remains persistent (39% in 2019) and underemployment endemic (72% in 2018 according to the Economic Commission for Africa [ECA]), the PSIE is intended to be an effective lever of action to improve the employability of young people, while contributing to the improvement of the competitiveness of companies.

2,000 young graduates recruited each year at the State’s expense 

In total, the objective is to “recruit, each year, at the expense of the State, 2000 young graduates to be placed in private or public companies, over a period of two years, with the hope that they will be useful and effective to be recruited at the end of the insertion period, or that they will be able to fly on their own in self-employment … “, said Beninese President Patrice Talon in his speech to the nation on the eve of the celebration of the 59th anniversary of Benin’s accession to international sovereignty on July 31, 2019.

The program targets all sectors of activity with high employment potential, such as agriculture, the processing industry of agricultural products, ICT, the production of building materials, renewable energy, sanitation, development, textiles and clothing, but also services such as tourism, hotels, restaurants, microfinance, personal services …

In concrete terms, job offers are made by companies eligible for the PSIE, according to their human resource needs. “From 2020 to 2021, we recorded a total of 4086 companies that registered on the platform. But only 442 companies have met the conditions of eligibility, namely, being formal, having the necessary supervision, committing to make the means of work available to young people, “said the coordinator of the program, Charlemagne Lokossou, for whom “it is out of the question to send young graduates to the pasture. 

Insert 8,000 young graduates on the job market

The latter specifies, moreover, that the 442 eligible companies have formulated a need for 2 039 positions, of which 1 535 have been posted directly online on the platform of the PSIE. As for the job seekers, more than 71,000 applications have been registered. These figures make Charlemagne Lokossou say that “the need is there for young people…”. 

In the end, out of 9,480 candidates evaluated, 3,422 were shortlisted and offered to companies, which retained more than 800 of them. These are the successful candidates who are now receiving their salaries directly from the Treasury,” says the program coordinator, who also points out that these are “very interesting salaries, depending on the candidate’s degree. The program runs for five years. During this period, the PSIE team hopes to insert 8,000 young graduates into the job market. This is a first step in the right direction, but with a long and arduous road ahead.  

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