Policy highlights:

  • In developing countries small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent over 95% of all firms and employ two thirds of the labour force. Yet, SMEs are generally less productive than large firms, are often unable to offer high wages and good working conditions and employ a large share of the vulnerable sections of the workforce (i.e. less experienced, less educated and poorer workers).
  • Given that SMEs generally employ those people targeted by the Sustainable Development Goals, increased productivity in this sector would contribute to meeting these goals as it would lead to higher wages in the low-wage segment of the economy, with positive distributional effects.
  • To achieve these effects policymakers are advised to: 1) promote international activities by local SMEs, because internationally-active SMEs generate more and better jobs; 2) provide SMEs with better access to modern information and communication technologies, because weak connectivity creates a serious competitiveness gap between small and large companies; and 3) introduce policies that help SMEs to overcome the obstacles that prevent them from linking to international value chains.
Connected themes
Share this post

Related items

Infographic: How to Make Plastic Waste Work for Green & Decent Jobs for Youth in Africa

Plastic waste recycling presents an opportunity to create sustainable jobs while benefiting the environment. But the question remains, how can stakeholders contribute to a conducive waste recycling ecosystem, unlocking its green job potential among Africa’s youth? We are excited to present an infographic showcasing the pathways and recommendations for Green & Decent Jobs for Youth in Africa.

Closing the loop: 3 barriers to decent youth employment in Africa’s waste management sector

This blog is part of a research project on the opportunities for decent work for youth in Africa’s Waste Recycling Sector, in collaboration with the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment (CFYE). Waste management in Africa is a major challenge for sustainable and inclusive development. Due to poor management, 90% of the waste generated in Africa is disposed of in landfills and uncontrolled dumpsites with severe consequences for the environment and people working in the waste management sector.

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.

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.