The world is experiencing the biggest youth bulge in history with 1.2 billion youth, with nearly 90 percent living in developing countries. It is estimated Africa’s youth population accounts for around 20 percent of the populace, making it the continent with the largest youth population, and the growth of this demographic is yet to peak in Africa.
Though this vibrant group has much to offer in terms of innovation, labor, and enthusiasm, over 20 percent are unemployed. Youth unemployment is thus a top policy priority for countries. This figure is exacerbated by the lack of jobs in the formal economy to meet this demand, and by insufficient training programs to meet labor market needs, with young people either under-skilled or with outdated skills, and with poor access to services that could otherwise enable young people to create their own economic opportunities. Across all regions, young adults (ages 15–24) are less likely than older adults to have a bank account 21. SDG 8 aspires to sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. It sets a target of full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value by 2030.
To achieve this goal youth will need to create their own economic opportunities by accessing relevant technical and life skills training, coupled with relevant and affordable financial and nonfinancial services.
- June 2016