IDS Bulletin 49.5

Youth Employment and the Private Sector in Africa

Published on 28 November 2018

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 attention is shifting to focus on how to promote productivity, boost the private sector, and generate the kind of growth that could create jobs.

While policymakers have endorsed the role of the private sector as a job generator, it remains unclear whether, and under what conditions, the formal private sector generates enough and decent jobs. Empirical research on youth employment in the private sector is sparse. This IDS Bulletin begins to fill that gap.

The articles here have been authored by young African scholars from the Matasa Fellows Network, convened by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in collaboration with Mastercard Foundation. These early-career academics from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe were selected to consider the role that could be played by the formal private sector in job creation in Africa. Case studies come from their respective countries. While some aspects of the youth employment challenge are common to all six countries, the local contexts and situations are unique and sectoral.

This IDS Bulletin explores the scope of research and policy challenges in three specific areas: agribusiness and youth employment; skills gaps and youth employability; and youth employment in fragile and conflict-affected settings. The articles demonstrate the importance of effective policy measures to ensure that private sector growth creates sufficient numbers of decent, secure jobs to provide employment to African youth.


Clementina Oluwafunke Ajayi In Memoriam

Introduction: Youth Employment and the Private Sector in Africa
Seife Ayele, Marjoke Oosterom and Dominic Glover

Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation: Agribusiness’ Contribution to Reducing Youth Unemployment
Tesfamicheal Wossen and Seife Ayele

Labour Casualisation and Youth Employment in Ghana’s Formal Private Sector
Gertrude Dzifa Torvikey

Uganda’s National Youth Policy and Job Creation for Youth
Rita Makumbi

Skills Gaps and Mismatches: Private Sector Expectations of Engineering Graduates in Ethiopia
Jerusalem Yibeltal Yizengaw

Fostering Agribusiness Entrepreneurship for Kenyan Youth through Practice‑Based Education
John Muchira

Navigating Precarious Livelihoods: Youth in the SME Sector in Zimbabwe
Simbarashe Gukurume

Assessing the Effectiveness of Employment Programmes for Ex Combatants: A Case Study of Nigeria’s Post Amnesty Programme (PAP)
Tarila Marclint Ebiede

Glossary: Youth Employment and the Private Sector in Africa

Notes on Contributors: Youth Employment and the Private Sector in Africa

Cite this publication

Ayele, S. Glover. D. and Oosterom, M. (2018) Youth Employment and the Private Sector in Africa, IDS Bulletin 49.5, Brighton: IDS

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Seife Ayele

Research Fellow

Marjoke Oosterom

Power and Popular Politics Cluster Lead

Dominic Glover

Rural Futures Cluster Lead

Simbarashe Gukurume

Sol Plaatje University

Jerusalem Yibeltal Yizengaw

Assistant Professor of International & Comparative Education

Tarila Marclint Ebiede

Brussels School of Governance and the Centre for Research on Peace and Development, KU Leuven, Belgium


Seife Ayele

Research Fellow

Dominic Glover

Rural Futures Cluster Lead

Marjoke Oosterom

Power and Popular Politics Cluster Lead

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