December 3rd, 2019

Youth and jobs in rural Africa: Beyond stylized facts

Published by Oxford University Press,

This book (PDF) by Oxford University Press uses survey data to build a nuanced understanding of the constraints and opportunities facing rural youth in Africa. The prospect of widespread youth unemployment in Sub-Saharan Africa (henceforth ‘Africa’) is a serious concern for governments today. Africa’s ‘youth bulge’ is an unprecedented global challenge, and African economies will struggle to absorb enough young job seekers in the coming decades. This book finds that a balance between alarm and optimism is warranted. Addressing youth employment in Africa is a global challenge, but it is one that was overcome by other developing regions when they underwent similar demographic transitions three decades ago. The pressure to create jobs in rural areas is acute, given that Africa’s rural population is growing, and its rural economy is underdeveloped. Yet evidence also suggests that agriculture is transforming in many countries, albeit slowly, and that youth are often participating in this process. Unfortunately, the idea that youth are better positioned than adults to adopt new farm technologies or run successful nonfarm businesses is not borne out in most of the book’s case study countries. Even where there is evidence that youth are leading agricultural transformation, the differences between adults and youth are small or the transformation process itself is modest. More needs to be done by governments to help youth in rural Africa. However, while youth employment is a major policy goal today, policies themselves often fall short of addressing the constraints facing young job seekers. This partly reflects a lack of understanding about country-specific constraints and opportunities. Fortunately, while the policy reforms and actions needed to address Africa’s youth bulge are daunting, there is increasing alignment between African governments, who have made youth employment a policy priority, and African youth, who are demanding policies to improve their job prospects.

PDF documents of each chapter seperately can be found here.

Curated from global.oup.com