Youth employment programmes are varied but meta-analysis and systematic reviews of impact assessments of these programmes indicate that some interventions have an overall positive effect on employment and earnings. Assessments of programmes which support youth job creation in the private sector find that larger businesses are more likely to generate jobs than micro-enterprises. In general, the youth employment strategy must be aligned with the scope for structural change in the economy: demand-side initiatives are appropriate in sub-Saharan Africa where most economies have limited potential for structural change in the short to medium term. Youth employment programmes should balance support for small and medium enterprises which are expected to create jobs with livelihoods initiatives which enable youth to become self-employed in the agricultural or informal sectors.
K4D helpdesk reports provide summaries of current research, evidence and lessons learned. This report was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development.
Ismail, Z. (2018). Lessons learned from youth employment programmes in developing countries. K4D Helpdesk Report. Birmingham, UK: University of Birmingham