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Youth employment through industries without smokestacks: Workshop 2

On Friday, September 6, 2019, the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative (AGI), in collaboration with the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), and the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) convened a full-day workshop to kick off the case studies for the multi-year Brookings-led research project, “Youth Employment in Africa” that seeks to address the employment creation challenge facing the continent.

The workshop, the second in the project, presented the revised versions of the frameworks shared at the May 2019 workshop, discussed the preliminary results of the South Africa pilot case study, and brainstormed around the applicability of the framework to other country case studies. In attendance were leading labor economists studying challenges to African youth employment, relevant Kenyan government officials, representatives from multilaterals and donor institutions, and nongovernmental organizations working with youths.

The first session centered around the updated frameworks, “Firm Characteristics and Constraints to Growth” and “Employment Creation and Skills Shortages in an African Context: A Methodological Framework” (both forthcoming). Overall, participants praised the frameworks, calling them novel and informative as well as positing whether they might be useful beyond the scope of the current project.

After the discussion of the frameworks, the South Africa case study team shared the preliminary results of the pilot study, including steps for calculating employment potential as well as potential constraints in the analysis. The presenter also included a preliminary analysis of skill requirements and gaps for the relevant IWOSS sectors.

Finally, research teams from Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, and Ghana shared their preliminary analyses identifying the most promising IWOSS sectors in their countries in terms of both economic growth and job creation. Presenters also identified likely constraints to growth of these sectors.

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