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Youth and labour markets in Africa, A literature review

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  • DIAL


    (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

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    Young people in Africa are confronted with many difficulties when it comes to their integration in the labour markets and their research for decent and productive jobs. Youth unemployment, which is substantially higher than global adult unemployment, has been growing in the last decade. In spite of the dramatic economic, social and political consequences of African youth employment problems, few studies focus on this population. This survey of literature stresses that a clear diagnosis of youth employment problems in African countries based on hard data and analytical research is badly needed. As shown by our research review, basic labour market indicators are lacking or are at best incomplete due to data availability and methodological problems. Worst, as illustrated in our paper, different sources lead to opposite diagnoses concerning youth unemployment and its trends. In order to contribute to this diagnosis, we present some new evidence based on the 1-2-3 Surveys recently conducted in 10 African countries, which provide a consistent and comparable picture of the situation of youth employment in urban labour markets in these countries. We also underline the diversity of the situation of youth employment on the continent (Southern Africa vs. other African countries; Anglophone vs. Francophone countries, etc.). We emphasize the “urban bias” in economic research on this subject, partly due to the lack of data on rural areas. Key Words : Youth, labour, unemployment, Africa _________________________________ Les jeunes en Afrique sont confrontés à de nombreuses difficultés pour s’intégrer dans le marché du travail et pour y trouver un emploi décent et productif. Le chômage des jeunes, qui est substantiellement plus élevé que le chômage global des adultes, a crû au cours de la dernière décennie. En définissant une cible spécifique sur le chômage des jeunes dans les Objectifs du Millénaire pour le Développement, la communauté internationale a reconnu la gravité de la situation. Toutefois, malgré les dramatiques conséquences économiques, sociales et politiques des difficultés d’emploi des jeunes africains, peu d’études s’intéressent spécifiquement à cette population. Cette revue de littérature souligne le fait qu’un diagnostic précis concernant l’emploi des jeunes en Afrique basé sur des données statistiques et une recherche analytique est cruellement nécessaire. Comme le montre notre étude, les indicateurs basiques sur le marché du travail manquent ou sont au mieux incomplets en raison du manque d’informations de bases et de problèmes méthodologiques. Pire, comme l’illustre notre papier, des sources différentes conduisent à des diagnostics opposés concernant le chômage des jeunes et ses tendances. Afin de contribuer à ce diagnostic indispensable, nous présentons de nouveaux résultats basés sur les enquêtes 1-2-3 conduites récemment dans 10 pays africains, qui procurent une image cohérente et comparable de la situation des marchés du travail urbains dans ces pays. Nous soulignons également la diversité de la situation de l’emploi des jeunes sur le continent (Afrique australe vs autres pays d’Afrique, pays anglophones vs francophones, etc.). Nous montrons enfin le « biais urbain » de la recherche économique sur ce sujet, dû en partie au manque de données sur les zones rurales.

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    File Function: First version, 2007
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    Paper provided by DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation) in its series Working Papers with number DT/2007/02.

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    Length: 75 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2007
    Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt200702
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