Boosting youth employment in Africa: What works and why?
This synthesis report (PDF) by the Knowledge Platform on Inclusive Development Policies (INCLUDE) reviews the latest knowledge on youth employment in Africa and the role of agriculture in combating youth unemployment. For most African youth (aged 15–24 years) the key employment issue is underemployment. They do work, but part-time and in low-skilled jobs in the informal sector. By 2020, most new jobs will be created in informal sectors like agriculture and household enterprises. A focus on enhancing productivity in these two currently low-productive sectors is, therefore, crucial in the short term. Raising productivity and, thus, creating employment in agriculture implies a need to invest in irrigation technology to ensure all-year round farming, as well as in training of farmers on the use of improved seeds and fertilizer. Also farm diversification will enhance agricultural productivity as it reduces seasonal underemployment in agriculture. Local economic conditions determine the (sub) sectors to prioritize. Possible priority sectors that could be targeted include staples, cash crops, horticultural products and livestock. Different actors have different roles to play in creating employment opportunities for youth. The conclusion is that a policy shift is needed to create employment for youth in the short term. Tackling un- and underemployment among African youth requires a local focus on multiple interventions that increase productivity in potential growth sectors, as well as tailor-made interventions that equip youth to exploit these opportunities.