Youth employment and political representation in Africa, case studies in Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Mozambique

This project is led by the Chr. Michelsen Institute (Norway) in collaboration with IDS and funded by NorGlobal. IDS Research fellow Dr Marjoke Oosterom leads the case study in Zimbabwe and the research uptake strategy.

The project focuses on how the ‘born free’ generation of youth perceives and interacts with the generation that holds power. Of all regions, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest proportion of youth. Yet its political regimes are led by aging politicians, many of whom have been in power since the end of the liberation wars of the 1970s to 1990s.

This project starts with the conundrum that yesterday’s rebels have become elderly power-holders, while the majority of the population is now born after these seminal struggles. What happens in the encounters between these regimes and the large youth cohorts? We will look at two policy areas, youth employment and youth representation (through quota, youth institutions) in order to better understand the regime-youth interaction. When are such policies empowering the youth, when do they bind youth in patronage relationships and when do they reinforce marginalization?

The project will study this in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The project will last from 2019-2022.


Opinion pieces

Policy briefs

Webinar – Youth Employment and Political Representation in Africa

Key contacts

Marjoke Oosterom

Power and Popular Politics Cluster Lead


Project details

start date
14 February 2019
end date
30 November 2022


In partnership with
Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI)

About this project


Recent work

Past Event

Youth employment and political representation in Africa

The population in sub-Saharan Africa is the fastest growing and the youngest in the world, yet the politicians ruling them are typically among the oldest. In some East African countries, the current rulers are yesterday’s rebels. Some have developed a range of authoritarian practices to stay...

24 May 2023