Policy Discussion on Africa’s Youth Unemployment

Authored By:

V. Masubo


April 15, 2022

Youth unemployment is a growing global issue, but in Africa, it is a top political priority. The African continent contains the world’s youngest population, with approximately 60 percent of its population being under the age of 25, combined with the fastest demographic growth rate. An estimated 10 to 12 million new jobs need to be created annually to match the growing demand for jobs. This policy paper discusses the factors that can explain the high youth unemployment rate in Africa, both pre-pandemic and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth. The paper then offers four policy recommendations that can be utilised by national governments and wider stakeholders to help solve the youth unemployment problem. The policy recommendations tap into the current policy discourse of digitalisation, access to finance and migrant population dynamics as useful policy tools.

download full publication

“We can no longer continue to make policies for ourselves, our countries, our region and our continent on the basis of whatever the westerners will give us. It will not work, it has not worked...Our responsibility is to charter a path which is about how we can develop our nations ourselves.”

—Ghanian President His Excellence Nana AKUFO-ADDO’s Speech, 07 December2017

 “only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.”

— Milton Friedman

“The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both.”

— Milton Friedman

“Basic institutions that protect the liberty of individuals to pursue their own economic interests result in greater prosperity for the larger society.”

— Adam Smith

“...where effective competition can be created, it is a better way of guiding individualefforts than any other... regards competition as superior not only because it is in mostcircumstances the most efficient method known but even more because it is the only methodby which our activities can be adjusted to each other without coercive or arbitraryintervention of authority.”

— Frederick Hayek

"The fundamental cure for poverty is not money but knowledge."

— Arthur Lewis

"The end of Law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings, capable of laws, where there is no law there is no freedom."

— John Locke