There is consensus among policymakers and the research community that demand for young people’s labour is the main constraint to achieving sustainable job creation in Africa (e.g. Fox & Kaul, 2017; AfDb et al., 2012). Thus, this synthesis paper focuses on evidence around the creation of wage labour opportunities in the private sector, linking youth employment with a desired structural economic transformation able to absorb the predicted surge in supply of labour in the decades to come. African economies have failed to transform structurally from low productivity agriculture to higher productivity non-agricultural sectors, with recent economic growth based on commodity exports not delivering enough jobs and lacking inclusive and sustainable linkages with local businesses to increase productivity at enterprise and sector level. Without sufficient policies in place to improve productivity at firm and sector level, the “extremely unproductive” informal sector, with its typically poor-quality employment conditions, will remain a major employer for youth, particularly the less skilled and educated. This synthesis paper looks at what is needed for the private sector in Africa to create more sustainable and quality jobs for youth working in the formal and informal sectors, by linking labour market outcomes with enterprise development interventions.