Fostering economic opportunities for youth in Africa: a comprehensive approach
Youth unemployment and working poverty are large and growing development challenges. The barriers faced by young women and men in accessing sustainable livelihoods are many, so supporting their successful transition into employment and entrepreneurship requires a comprehensive and holistic approach. This article reflects on the evolving approach of The MasterCard Foundation-supported programmes in sub-Saharan Africa, within the broader context of wider research and evidence. It suggests that combining training in a range of market-relevant skills, with access to job and business opportunities and appropriate financial services, can foster economic opportunities for youth. It emphasizes the importance of recognizing the role of mixed livelihoods in contexts where formal jobs are lacking, and of supporting youth engagement in agriculture and agribusiness as viable livelihood opportunities. And it highlights that the challenge can only be adequately addressed via the meaningful engagement of a range of stakeholders, including the private sector, government and civil society, and, especially, youth themselves.