Matasa Fellows Network

In April 2016 The Mastercard Foundation and Institute of Development Studies joined forces to launch The Matasa Fellows Network.

This exciting initiative sought to develop a cohort of young African researchers with the skills and commitment to engage in policy-oriented research around the challenges of young people and employment in Africa. Its aim is to contribute to the development of outstanding young researchers who will ultimately become leaders in their chosen fields. To kick-start the Network, ten fellowships were awarded in Spring 2016.

Each Matasa Fellow is producing a high quality synthesis paper and related policy brief. The synthesis papers will be published in a special issue of the IDS Bulletin.

The African youth employment challenge is…

In this short film the Matasa Fellows outline their perspectives on the African youth employment challenge.

How the Network is making a difference

In this short film, some of the Matasa Fellows explain how the Network is supporting them. 

Project details

start date
4 Apr 2016
end date
2 Jan 2017


About this project

Research themes
Inclusive Economies

Recent work


Reshaping Ethiopia’s Higher Education Curriculum to Tackle Youth Unemployment

IDS Policy Briefing 157

Ethiopia has seen remarkable economic growth in the past decade, and there has been high demand for construction work to keep up with the pace of change. As part of the country’s Growth and Transformation Plans (GTPs) unprecedented efforts have been made to grow the university sector,...

1 December 2018


Stimulating Agribusiness Entrepreneurship to Solve Youth Unemployment in Kenya

IDS Policy Briefing 158

More than one million Kenyan youth enter the labour market every year, yet many young people struggle to find jobs in the manufacturing and service sectors. Currently, the transition rate from secondary to further education is very low and means many young people are leaving school with only...

1 December 2018


Agribusiness, Sustainable Jobs, and Youth Unemployment: Lessons from Ghana

IDS Policy Briefing;159

Agro-processing export firms can play a key role in addressing labour casualisation and youth unemployment in Ghana. However, many firms face both internal and external challenges that are affecting their contribution to the sustainability of jobs for youth in the country. This IDS Policy...

1 December 2018


Youth Employment and the Private Sector in Africa

IDS Bulletin 49.5

Globally, governments, development agencies, and inter-governmental institutions have invested heavily in skills-building interventions seeking to enhance the employability of youths. However, policy actors are becoming more aware of the shortcomings of skills-building interventions, and...

28 November 2018


Tackle underemployment AND unemployment in Africa argues IDS Bulletin

As 12 million young people enter the African labour force each year, there are only 3 million new jobs for them (pdf). The major challenge is not just about creating enough jobs for them, but on creating ‘decent’ jobs, argues the new IDS bulletin. The...

28 November 2018


A network of young African scholars for sustainable development

Addressing Africa’s sustainable development challenges, including job creation for the continent’s burgeoning youth population, means preparing young African professionals for future roles as development leaders and change agents. Launching today is the IDS Bulletin on “Youth Employment...

Image of Seife Ayele
Seife Ayele & 3 others

28 November 2018


The cult of the African youth entrepreneur

What image does the phrase ‘Africa’s youth employment challenge’ bring to mind? Is it, for example, an image of social unrest and violence; or of young migrants risking everything to get to Europe? Or an image of family and personal sacrifice to gain coveted educational qualifications? Or...

27 September 2018