How Youth-Specific is Africa’s Youth Employment Challenge?

1st July 2018
Author: Justin Flynn, Philip Mader, Stacie Irwin

As policy-makers turn their attention to Africa’s youth employment challenge and respond with programmes targeting young people, it is paramount to assess the extent to which this challenge is about broader contextual factors that affect everyone, versus factors that affect young people only or primarily. Despite two decades of relative stability and economic prosperity, unemployment, underemployment, informality, and low-quality work remain the norm in much of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The report focuses on this region, where many countries have been experiencing jobless growth. Africa is also the youngest continent, and young people here face an extremely challenging job situation. This raises two questions: how youth-specific is Africa’s youth employment challenge? And how youth-specific are its causes?

Suggested Citation

Irwin, S., Mader, P. and Flynn, J. (2018) How Youth-Specific is Africa’s Youth Employment Challenge? K4D Emerging Issues Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies


1st July 2018


Continent: Africa