Boosting Decent Employment for Africa’s Youth

A multi-donor research initiative

Under the guidance of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, this initiative is built on a vision of a world where young women and men have greater access to decent jobs. This is a three-year partnership between INCLUDE, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

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Over the next decade in Africa, an estimated 122 million young people
will join the labour force.

Millions of young people in Africa already work in insecure, low-income and often unsafe jobs with little or no pay. If greater numbers of better jobs are not created, this situation will continue and possibly worsen. While the topic has galvanized political commitment and resources across the region, progress has been fragmented and slow. Pressing questions remain:  What are the most effective ways to boost productive employment for youth in rural and urban settings? How can we move from small-scale pilot projects to largescale interventions?

A key barrier to solving the continent’s employment challenge is a lack of research to guide policies and interventions. This research programme aims to address this critical knowledge gap.

This initiative aims to:

  • Synthesize and share evidence about why, and how best to, support youth employment.
  • Generate new, rigorous evidence on how soft skills development and work-based learning may boost economic opportunities for youth.
  • Develop a community of practice and engage youth to foster learning and policy outreach through multi-stakeholder dialogue within and between countries.
  • 8 research projects
  • 5 evidence syntheses per year
  • 65+ multidisciplinary researchers
  • 18+ research institutions

The publication of this partnership synthesis paper comes at the time that the partnership celebrates three years of collaboration. In these three years, the partners respectively conducted 8 research projects, commissioned and published 12 evidence synthesis papers and organised numerous knowledge dissemination events. All of these knowledge products are now collected in this partnership synthesis paper. The paper calibrates cutting-edge evidence from across Africa, centring knowledge produced from INCLUDE’s, ILO’s and IDRC’s collaborative research project, and draws out best practice for a more just, sustainable and inclusive approach to decent jobs for young people.

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