Visiting booths at the Green Job Fair. Photo credit: IOM Senegal.

Dakar - According to the definition of the International Labor Organization, green jobs are decent jobs that contribute to the preservation and restoration of the environment, either in traditional sectors, or in new and emerging green sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) mission in Senegal organized a Green Job Fair from November 21 to 24, 2022 at the Don Bosco Center in Tambacounda.

The initiative was meant as a space for business exchange and networking to improve access to the labor market for returning migrants and for young entrepreneurs. The Fair highlighted the potential of migrant and youth entrepreneurship for the development of a green economy, and create a space for synergies between Senegalese authorities, the private sector, and the Senegalese diaspora.

In total, an estimate of 2,000 people participated in the four-day Fair, including 1,350 returnees and youth from the communities of return from all 14 regions of Senegal. 350 returnees who have already received support from IOM to kick-start their micro-businesses exhibited their products in the Migrants’ Market: farmers and cultivators, tailors, carpenters, welders, and craftsmen exposed their items and produce in stands. Local and national authorities, non-governmental and civil society organizations (NGO and CSO, members of the private sector, and the Senegalese diaspora also came to amplify and contribute to the networking opportunities.

"The Green Job Fair is an initiative worth repeating as it has had a positive impact on us returning migrants, giving us another perspective on our work by allowing us to network and get in touch with potential partners." says Ndeye Fatou Ndiaye, an IOM beneficiary.

Various activities also took place at the fair site: B2B meetings with more than 50 partners composed of NGOs and CSOs, state bodies and the private sector were organized. Three panel discussions with experts were held: the first of which focused on the links between green economy and migration, the second on the social and environmental implications of fast-fashion and eco-fashion, and the third on investment opportunities including green funds in Senegal and the West and Central African region.

Other activities specifically targeted returnees, such as free training workshops on CV writing, formalizing processes for enterprises and BIO labelling. Recreational activities carried out throughout the Fair focused on a positive narrative around migration, highlighting the potential entrepreneur returned migrants and youth represent for the economic growth of Senegal, such as an Agri-Food Hackathon, a Fashion Show where 34 tailor returned migrants showcased their creations, and a concert by a returned migrant artist and rapper, Big Makhou Djolof. Finally IOM also held four Side Events focused on return and reintegration processes and activities.

“The Green Job Fair is an excellent tool to raise awareness among Senegalese authorities of the development potential of youth entrepreneurship for the country, especially for returning migrants, and in line with national development strategies, such as the Plan Senegal Emergent Vert – the Green National Development Plan”, said Valeria Falaschi, chief of mission A.I. “In the aftermath of the Green Job Fair, IOM will work with the Senegalese government for the institutionalization of the Fair for the coming years”, she added.

The Fair was organized with contributions from the European Union, the Czech Republic, the French Republic, as well as with the support of the General Directorate of Support to Senegalese Abroad and the office of the Governor of Tambacounda.

For more information, please contact: Pirce ALTINOK, Reintegration Officer, IOM Senegal,