Kesaobaka Pharatlhatlhe and Bruce Byiers, ECDPM discussion paper 252, April 2019.
Youth unemployment is one of the biggest challenges facing the African continent. This paper explores the drivers and blockages to addressing youth unemployment through regional frameworks such as the 2016 SADC Youth Employment Promotion Policy Framework (YEPPF) and the Labour Migration Action Plan (2016 -2019). The paradox in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region is its high levels of youth unemployment despite high literacy rates.
By looking at these, the paper discusses the implementation gap of these frameworks and the reasons behind it. Although all countries in the SADC region face a similar challenge and have adopted frameworks at a regional level, member states tend to focus on domestic priorities at the expense of regional commitments, raising questions about the relevance or specific value added of a regional youth agenda.
Moreover, regional organisations might also learn from national initiatives and programmes developed by member states, such as disbursement of youth funds to promote youth businesses, though this raises questions about the value added of operating regionally. The paper suggests ways in which SADC and the African Union (AU) might address the youth unemployment challenge. These include:
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