Africa is the most youthful continent in the world, with 226 million youth (aged 15–24) in 2015–which is roughly 20% of the global youth population. While youth populations in other regions of the world have stabilized, Africa’syouth populationis growing rapidlyand is expected toincrease by 42%by 2030. At the same time, youth in Africa face significant economic challenges, accounting for 60% of all unemployed in Africa. Hence, youth employment is a top priority for Africa. In her address at the opening of the 28th ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, Dr Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma (then Chairperson of the African Union Commission) pointed out that “[T]he future of Africa belongs to youth, but the quality of thatfuture will be determined by what they do with it today”. The African Union has adopted the theme ‘Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investments in Youth’ for 2017. In addition, youth feature prominently in the African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) High Five Priorities, as supported by the Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy. A great sense of urgency regarding high youth underemployment in Africa is also visible among African governments, the EU and its member states, as well as donor countries.

In this context, INCLUDE, the knowledge platform on Inclusive Development Policies, and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized aconference on ‘Boosting youth employment in Africa: what works and why?’ in The Hague, on 30 May 2017. The conference was attended by 140 expertsfrom governments, the private sector, NGOs and knowledge institutes in Europe and Africa.The objective of the conference was to use state-of-the-art knowledge to answer the question: How can we achieve substantial progress in creating employment opportunities for large numbers of African youth?

In preparation for the conference, the INCLUDE Secretariat developed a synthesis reportoutlining the main issues for debate. The report reviews the latest (rigorous) knowledge on the nature of the youth employment challenge in Africa (diagnostics) and identifies what worksto promote youth employment and why. It seeks to capture the emerging consensus on the key short-term and long-term priorities for promoting youth employment. The report also addresses the possible choices involved and the roles of the relevant actors, ranging from national governments and the private sector to (international) development banks, NGOs and knowledge institutes. These different actors featured prominently in the audience and programme of the conference, which consisted ofkey note lectures,break out dialogue sessions and panel debates, including a panel with youth from Kenya, Nigeria, Benin, Rwanda and Uganda.

Connected themes
Share this post

Related items

Green jobs & the future of work in Africa: the story of Olivia Onyemaobi and Pad-Up Creations

In this video, we present the story of Olivia Onyemaobi, Nigerian entrepreneur and founder of Pad-Up Creations, a social enterprise producing affordable and eco-friendly sanitary pads in partnership with CFYE.

Inclusive Youth Agripreneurship in Africa: A New Report and a Comprehensive Policy Brief on Advancing Youth Entrepreneurship in Agriculture

The Inclusive Youth Agripreneurship in Africa research project is a joint venture between The Broker and two Dutch knowledge platforms, the Netherlands Food Partnership and INCLUDE. The project's goal is to strengthen the existing research on best practices for youth agripreneurship programs and policies, catalyzing action from policymakers and youth organizations alike. The project was finalized with two innovative knowledge products, both of which are now available for download.

Digital Skills for Youth Employment in Africa

Digitalisation and technological advancements are changing the world of work and the skills needed for employment. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone an estimated 230 million jobs will require digital skills within the next decade offering employment opportunities for its ever growing youth population. However, young people in Africa face several barriers that prevent them to obtain the types of skills required for employment. The evidence synthesis paper published by INCLUDE explores the challenges and opportunities of this digital transformation and presents recommendations of how to equip Africa’s youth for the future of work.

By Ruth van de Velde +3 more
A decent proposal: self-employment for women in Uganda

This blog is part of a case study that examined decent work in the context of the work lives of self-employed and rural women in central Uganda in collaboration with 100WEEKS, a cash transfer graduation programme.

Six key insights for green jobs for youth in Africa

The African green transition has the potential to create a plurality of job opportunities that help tackle the negative consequences of climate change: green jobs. To find out what is needed to facilitate green jobs for young people in Africa, INCLUDE and Palladium engaged in a collaborative research project in the context of the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment.

Siri profile picture