Youth in Africa face a myriad of constraints that affect their access to and success in the labour market. The current COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionally affects young people, is putting further pressure on the job market. Youth employment programmes try to tackle these constraints, for example by providing training and skills development (supply side) or promoting entrepreneurship and supporting the development of small and medium enterprises (demand side), or through a combination of these. Some youth employment programmes also aim to empower youth and create a more enabling environment in which they can thrive in the labour market. However, we know very little about the importance of youth empowerment and the enabling environment for employment and business outcomes: this paper aims to address this gap by understanding how a focus on empowerment and an enabling environment matters for the effectiveness of youth employment programmes in Africa cover

Youth in Africa face a myriad of constraints that affect their access to and success in the labour market. 

The current COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionally affects young people, is putting further pressure on the job market. Youth employment programmes try to tackle these constraints, for example by providing training and skills development or promoting entrepreneurship and supporting the development of small and medium enterprises, or through a combination of these. 

Some youth employment programmes also aim to empower youth and create a more enabling environment in which they can thrive in the labour market. However, we know very little about the importance of youth empowerment and the enabling environment for employment and business outcomes: this paper aims to address this gap by understanding how a focus on empowerment and an enabling environment matters for the effectiveness of youth employment programmes in Africa.

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