Africa’s structural challenges can’t be solved by “youth innovation”
Discussions around young people in Africa often hold them to be particularly innovative. The hope is that the next generation, if supported properly, will solve the continent’s problems through innovation and entrepreneurship. Ideally, such claims, which play an important part in policy, should be supported by solid evidence. In this blog, IDS experts challenge the current discourse around youth employment challenge in sub-Saharan Africa, as it is commonly stated that young people are innovative, and in some respects, more innovative than older people. The authors suggest that the centrality of the claim that youth and innovation are tightly linked reflects how dominant ways of thinking have painted development policy into a very tight corner. They challenge policy makers to step away from assumptions and to build up young people’s capabilities.