Youth in Africa's Labor Market
Youth and Africa have received increased attention in recent policy discussions and World Bank work, as articulated in the Africa action plan and the World Development Report 2007: development and the next generation. The Africa action plan offers a framework to support critical policy and public action led by African countries to achieve well-defined goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The World Development report's main message is that the time has never been better to invest in young people living in developing countries. It offers a three pillar policy framework for investing in and preserving the human capital of the next generation. Both frameworks respond to the desire to find solutions to Africa's development challenges and to prepare for and benefit from the next generation of workers, parents, and leaders. This report examines the challenges Africa's youth face in their transition to working life and proposes policies for meeting these challenges. It presents evidence from case studies of 4 countries - Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda and from household data on 13 countries. The four case studies include a stocktaking of existing policies and programs to address youth employment and labor markets. The overarching message of the report is the call to further invest in the human capital of youth in Sub-Saharan Africa to take advantage of the large youth cohorts there. Youth in Africa leave school too early and enter the labor market unprepared, limiting their contribution to economic growth and increasing their vulnerability to poverty and economic hardship.
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