The Challenge Fund for a Just Transition (CFJT) is a consortium led by Hivos and implemented by seven intermediary partners, comprising Business Development Support Organisations, Think Tanks, and VC Firms in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and the Netherlands. CFJT aims to respond to the urgent need for quality jobs for youth in North Africa. Since the climate crisis significantly impacts the region, the Fund will scale and replicate proven job creation strategies in the green economy. We will identify 30 “champion” small and growing businesses (SGBs) and, through tailored support, will enable them and their micro clusters to scale and provide 10,000 decent job opportunities for young women and men.
SGBs’ Potential in Job Creation
CFJT’s model focuses on identifying green SGBs and supporting them to scale rapidly through our alliance of (local) intermediaries. Our approach is unique in addressing the SGB alongside its surrounding micro-cluster. We identify and support SGBs that can act as catalysts for green value chain microclusters. By rapidly scaling ‘champion’ SGBs, CFJT also scales these clusters of micro-suppliers, distributors, small-enterprise customers, and service providers around the SGB, which will create new jobs, improve conditions of existing ones, and match unemployed youth with job opportunities. It builds on the successful results of the current GreenWorks programme (2020-23) and its previous iterations BOOST (2019-20), and Coworking for Sustainable Employment (2015-18) that have accelerated over 200 businesses and created 7,800 sustainable jobs for youth.
The pathway to realizing our mission will be shaped by three activities: 1) Enabling 30 SGBs and their microclusters that contribute to the green transition to scale; 2) Increasing the technical capabilities and financial resources of SGBs and; 3) Incentivizing systemic change toward decent and inclusive employment by showcasing the commercial opportunities of a just transition.
CFJT targets a minimum of 80% green jobs, 70% jobs from rural areas, and 50% women.
Green Jobs for Youth in North Africa
CFJT creates green jobs by supporting SGBs contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation. We will integrate climate and environmental considerations into the programme in a number of ways, building on Hivos’ experience and strategic prioritisation of a ‘climate justice’ agenda.
Urban youth wants to work in an inclusive environment and may look for meaning in their work beyond monetary gain (e.g., by contributing to a green transition).
There is a pressing need to address and act on climate change worldwide, more so in North Africa, as it is a heavily impacted area. SGBs have significant potential here, as they can tap into local government plans to accelerate the green transition. On top of this, they can take on a leading role in creating decent work opportunities for young women. This becomes especially prominent when considering (urban) youth’s aspirations to contribute to green initiatives. Therefore, CFJT aims to deliver the right support to power the green economy through quality employment opportunities.
Young people need fair opportunities to meaningfully participate in the labour market and thus in life. For this meaningful participation, private-public partnerships become essential. Still, private entities have an especially catalytic role in paving the way for a more inclusive and youth-centered work landscape.