K4D Emerging Issues report

How Youth-Specific is Africa’s Youth Employment Challenge?

Published on 1 July 2018

As policy-makers turn their attention to Africa’s youth employment challenge and respond with programmes targeting young people, it is paramount to assess the extent to which this challenge is about broader contextual factors that affect everyone, versus factors that affect young people only or primarily. Despite two decades of relative stability and economic prosperity, unemployment, underemployment, informality, and low-quality work remain the norm in much of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

This report focuses on this region, where many countries have been experiencing jobless growth. Africa is also the youngest continent, and young people here face an extremely challenging job situation. This raises two questions: how youth-specific is Africa’s youth employment challenge? And how youth-specific are its causes?

Cite this publication

Irwin, S., Mader, P. and Flynn, J. (2018) How Youth-Specific is Africa’s Youth Employment Challenge? K4D Emerging Issues Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies


Philip Mader

Research Fellow

Justin Flynn

Research Officer & Postgraduate Researcher

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