Policy highlights:

  • Many youths (aged 18–24) in Africa make use of ‘mixed livelihoods’, combining different types of formal, informal, social and reproductive activities to make a living. Understanding the daily lives of youth is key to developing sustainable, realistic, timely and effective interventions to improve their livelihoods.

 

  • Contact with youth in Ghana and Uganda over a year-long period produced five valuable lessons for policymakers: 1) Young people have diverse livelihoods. All participants in the project used a mix of informal sector employment, self-employment, and agriculture-related activities to earn a living. 2) Agricultural production is central to rural young people’s livelihoods, but agricultural incomes are meagre. Diversification of income sources and crops is necessary to be successful. 3) Both formal and informal wage employment is rare and sporadic, especially in rural areas. The informal sector provides more opportunities, but these are limited and consist of casual labour and employment in small businesses. 4) In order for youth to be able to respond quickly to other income-generating opportunities, enterprises are usually not capital-intensive and primarily focus on immediate opportunities. 5) Mixed livelihoods allow youth to mitigate risks and maximize economic opportunities in vulnerable areas. They are, therefore, a logical and the most economically-viable choice for youth in these regions.
  • Community-level support networks are crucial in terms of social capital, as they increase access to employment, skills, business guidance and financial services. Those without them face additional challenges when building economic pathways. The development community, policymakers, and other stakeholders need to provide youth with the right opportunities to spark economic growth, expand options for the most vulnerable and marginalized, and deploy solutions for scalable interventions with tangible impacts, taking into account their day-to-day realities.

Related items

AERC Regional Policy Forum summary

The AERC hosted a virtual Regional Policy Forum on 28 March 2022. The forum brought together key stakeholders who play important roles in shaping new research findings, paving new policy directions, and initiating innovative practices in the areas of youth and employment.

Getting up to speed with inclusive development

The INCLUDE team’s reading list: March 2022 Every month we share with our readers a…

beehive-article-image
Hive-minded: what’s working for inclusion in apiculture?

This blog presents a concrete example of inclusion in practice, embodied by the Inclusion officer at The Uganda National Apiculture Development Organisation (TUNADO), a member-based national apex organisation for apiculture in Uganda.

+3
By Caspar Swinkels +3 more
cairo-workers
Identifying Economic Sectors to Create Employment for Youth in Africa: key findings from selected country cases

Growth Sectors for Youth Employment (GSYE) is an African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) collaborative research…

John_maara_Photo_
Getting up to speed with inclusive development

The INCLUDE team’s reading list: February 2022