Making policies work

Youth and international cooperation

Young people are important for economic growth and for social, technological and political innovation, but they face an increasingly hard time – both in Europe and in Africa.

By 2050, 60 percent of the 2.2 billion Africans will be under 24 years old. So, not surprisingly, the lack of job creation and skills gaps are of increasing concern. While European societies are getting older, the levels of youth unemployment are high as well, especially in the south of Europe.

What are leaders doing to tackle the issues youth face in Europe and Africa? What can be done to create the opportunities young people need, so they can play their role and positively contribute to the transformation of the economy? And what do young people have to say about pressing issues such as the climate crisis, decolonisation or gender equality?

In this dossier, you can find all our work on the challenges for young people and on the change they can drive when it comes to employment, political engagement and leadership, conflict and climate change.

Want to know more about our work on youth or have thoughts to add to the debate? Get in touch with Pamella Ahairwe, Catarina Farinha or Kathleen van Hove.

Our work on youth and international cooperation

A call for change from young people in Africa and Europe
ECDPM Great Insights magazine, March 2021

Youth unemployment and the role of regional organisations: The case of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Kesaobaka Pharatlhatlhe and Bruce Byiers, ECDPM paper, April 2019

A generational divide in the fight against climate change
Hanne Knaepen, ECDPM blog, 4 March 2019

Philanthropy and Africa’s demographic growth: Finding allies to support the potential of young people
Sanne Thijssen and Emmanuel De Groof, ECDPM blog, 15 October 2018

In this blog series inspired by and dedicated to Africa Day (25 May), three of our young colleagues explain what being African and pan-Africanism means to them.

Time for leaders and youth to shape the Africa they want, together
Kesa Pharatlhatlhe, ECDPM blog, 20 April 2018

A rapier not a blunderbuss: Why the EU must do better in supporting African job creation
Tilman Altenburg, San Bilal, Giulia Maci and Dirk Willem te Velde, European Think Tanks Group paper, February 2018

ECOWAS industrialisation and youth employment: Adding value at a regional level?
Karim Karaki, ECDPM policy brief, December 2017

EAC industrialisation and youth employment: Regional rhetoric, national drive
Sebastian Grosse-Puppendahl, ECDPM policy brief, December 2017

The year of new crises for Africa’s youth
Asmita Parshotam ECDPM blog, 11 December 2017

Youth: A shared priority for Europe and Africa
Greta Galeazzi, ECDPM blog, 23 February 2017

Youth employment in fragile countries
ECDPM Great Insights magazine, February 2017

Youth employment for resilience in fragile and conflict-affected states
Audrey Aumua, ECDPM Great Insights magazine, February 2017

A New Deal is needed for youth
Sarah Hearn, ECDPM Great Insights magazine, February 2017

Youth unemployment in the Great Lakes region: A challenge for peacebuilding and sustainable development
Pamphile Sebahara and Edgar Cizero Ntasano, Great Insights magazine, December 2014


ECDPM at Yo!Fest 2017

Mobilising investment, knowledge, research and innovation to make agriculture attractive for African youth
6-7 September 2018
During the Task Force Rural Africa’s third meeting, ECDPM’s Francesco Rampa – who is a member of the task force – presented various issues related to the event theme.

Youth potential in the Mediterranean: unlocking opportunities, overcoming challenges
7 May 2018
At this conference organised by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, eight young professionals from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, including ECDPM’s Tasnim Abderrahim, presented their ideas and perspectives on the challenges impacting the region and the future prospects of youth.

Youth Plug-In Initiative
7-15 November 2017
Ahead of the AU-EU Summit in November 2017, ECDPM was invited to facilitate the AU-EU Youth Plug-in Initiative. It brought together 36 young Europeans and Africans working on ideas to pitch to leaders at the Summit.

Strengthening the voice of youth in Africa
15 May 2017
Together with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ECDPM organised this high-level meeting between the Danish Foreign Minister and a group of young Africans and Europeans, in the margins of the Foreign Affairs Council. The objective was to give youth a voice early on in the process leading up to the Africa-EU summit.

Yo!Fest 2017
6-7 February 2017
Our young staff hosted interactive workshops on climate-smart agriculture and Africa-Europe relations at Yo!Fest 2017 in Maastricht, the Netherlands. Yo!Fest is a cultural and political event organised by and for young people.