What is the Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy?


The African Development Bank Group launched its Jobs for Youth in Africa (JfYA) Strategy (2016-2025) at its Annual Meetings in May 2016 in Lusaka, Zambia.

The aim of the strategy is to support African countries in scaling up responses to youth unemployment and underemployment crisis on the continent. The strategy will focus on practical, high-impact solutions aimed at creating opportunities through education and training, transformative jobs and a business environment conducive to youth entrepreneurship..

The goal of the strategy is to create 25 million jobs for African youth over the next decade and to equip 50 million youth with a mix of hard and soft skills to increase their employability as well as their entrepreneurial success rate. For this purpose, the strategy emphasizes partnerships including with the private sector, scaling up of solutions that work, and sustainable results for impact.

Youth are Africa’s greatest asset. While Africa’s economic growth is strong, there is an urgent need to promote inclusive economic transformation and jobs-induced growth to improve the quality of life for all Africans. Africa’s youth population is rapidly growing and expected to double to over 830 million by 2050. If properly harnessed, this increase in the working age population could support increased productivity and stronger, more inclusive economic growth across the continent.

However, this asset remains untapped due to unemployment and underemployment. The potential benefits of Africa’s youth population are unrealized as two thirds of non-student youth are unemployed, discouraged, or marginally employed. Only three million formal jobs are created annually while 10-12 million youth seek to enter the workforce each year. Even when jobs are available, youth often do not have the skills required by employers – despite improved access to education over the past several decades. Women are particularly impacted, often facing even greater barriers to accessing opportunities and earning equal pay.

The Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy ensures youth play a key role in driving Africa’s inclusive growth and transformation agenda forward. The strategy reinforces links between jobs, economic progress and human development.

The scale of the youth unemployment situation in Africa requires bold, ambitious approaches to successfully address the issue. Across the continent, there is demand and political will for action in addressing the challenge of youth unemployment. The Bank is committed to an ecosystem approach – with a suite of policy, programming, investment, and knowledge interventions that tackle youth unemployment from a variety of different angles. The Bank is uniquely positioned to address a challenge of this scale given its convening power, knowledge of the continent, and strong public-private partnerships. .

Key highlights

  • In 2017, the Bank accelerated its efforts to mainstream job creation in its new operations. A total of 264 staff were trained on effective ways to integrate job creation in Bank’s programs and strategic planning documents. Projects approved in 2016 and 2017 included job creation targets of 2,622,269. These projects also aim to create and support 56,510 small and medium enterprises as well as provide capacity building for 493,377 youth and women entrepreneurs.
  • More than 1,000 participants attended five high-level Regional Ministerial Conferences to build momentum for the implementation of the JfYA strategy. In line with the recommendations of the conferences and to improve the ecosystem for youth employment in African countries, the Bank is committed to facilitate public private partnerships to create jobs across Africa. In December 2017, the first coalition was established in Sierra Leone in collaboration with the International Labor Organization.
  • Through the Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund, a Youth Innovation Lab was established to support youth and women-owned businesses and accelerate the incubation of businesses across a variety of sectors, including Information. Communication Technology (ICT), agriculture and industry.
  • In 2017, the President of the Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, launched the Presidential Youth Advisory Group to provide strategic guidance on the implementation of the JfYA strategy.
  • In February 2018, the Bank launched the Rockefeller Trust Fund to enhance the ICT and digital skills of youth and women across the continent.
  • The Bank is developing the Enabling Youth Employment scorecard to track the state of youth employment in countries across Africa, identify the barriers youth face in finding quality work, and provide sustainable solutions to unleashing the economic potential of youth. Through evidence-based research, the scorecard will provide decision-makers with policy recommendations to increase employment opportunities for youth. 

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