On February 16 and 17, 2017, The MasterCard Foundation is hosting its second annual Young Africa Works Summit. This invite-only event will bring together a community of 300 thought leaders from NGOs, government, funders and the private sector committed to developing sustainable youth employment strategies in Africa. It will also directly involve young people to help understand and explore their journeys, including the challenges they face, in securing meaningful economic opportunities.
With 1.8 billion people between the ages of 15 and 29, the world is home to more young people today than ever before. Close to 87 per cent of them live in developing countries. Young people make up approximately one quarter of humanity, but in many countries, especially in South Asia and Africa, one in three people is a young person. Demographic trends and projections make it clear that the proportion of young people in the global population is declining and it is predicted to fall below 20 per cent by 2075. The next few decades, therefore, are an unprecedented window of opportunity for the world, and developing countries in particular, to reap the promise of this ‘demographic dividend’.
This week thousands of policy-makers, experts, NGOs and urban-minded citizens of all stripes are convening in Quito, Ecuador to discuss the New Urban Agenda at Habitat III – a significant global convening that occurs every 20 years. And, in a couple weeks, amid the costumes and candy, ghosts and goblins of Halloween, the world will mark UN World Cities Day on October 31st. For good reason, youth are part of the conversation. In today’s global landscape, two demographic patterns should stand out: rapid urbanization and large youth populations. These patterns are especially robust across developing nations. This week thousands of policy-makers, experts, NGOs and urban-minded citizens of all stripes are convening in Quito, Ecuador to discuss the New Urban Agenda at Habitat III – a significant global convening that occurs every 20 years. And, in a couple weeks, amid the costumes and candy, ghosts and goblins of Halloween, the world will mark UN World Cities Day on October 31st. For good reason, youth are part of the conversation. In today’s global landscape, two demographic patterns should stand out: rapid urbanization and large youth populations. These patterns are especially robust across developing nations.
Eritrea faces wide scale youth unemployment, pushing many young people to brave their chances and migrate in search of better opportunities. To address these issues, a project by the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students (NUEYS), with financial support from Norway, Japan and UNDP, is providing youth with vocational skills and training to help them find jobs. The trainings take six months and range from graphic design to metalwork, woodwork, beekeeping, hairdressing, pottery and electric installation.
In the Youth Empowerment Challenge we are collaboratively designing solutions that expand economic opportunities for youth in East Africa. The continent of Africa is home to more young people than anywhere else on Earth. Youth in Africa have the potential to unleash the economic power of the continent – and lift millions out of poverty – but only if they have access to the skills, information and resources they need to achieve economic stability.
Bridging the Skills Gap: Insights from Employers, Educators, and Youth in Latin America and the Caribbean presents the findings of a 10-month investigation of the secondary education school-to-work transition and trends in youth employability in Colombia, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic. These three countries were selected to ensure representation of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. With support from the FHI Foundation, FHI 360 and Results for Development Institute (R4D) led this study to advance an understanding of the skills gap that prevents companies from finding qualified candidates to employ.
Learn what it takes to scale workforce development solutions through the education system! This session will feature Educate!, Aflatoun, and INJAZ Jordan. These NGOs have effectively worked with governments globally to integrate proven solutions into curriculum, teacher training and assessment policies. Their work specifically focuses on the areas of enterprise development, financial literacy. Each panelist will present a practical strategy, such as policy stakeholder engagement, education reform process mapping, and effective teacher training. This session is meant to promote partnerships between implementers and policy makers so that effective solutions to work force development can be scaled through the education system.
Results for Development, Umsizi Fund, WAVE Academies,
Building on the professional connections unleashed at the Global Youth Economic Opportunities (YEO) Summit, this session will explore how a peer learning network for workforce development practitioners could deepen the impact and enhance ongoing connections between organizations that have a commitment to African youth workforce development. Specifically, Results for Development and Umsizi Fund will share the preliminary hypotheses and results of a scoping exercise on the potential for a peer learning network of African youth workforce development practitioners.
A decade ago, I organized the first-ever global convening with the singular focus on how to increase the scale and sustainability of the youth economic opportunities sector. Fast forward ten years, to this past September, when 543 people from 53 countries gathered to share their knowledge, and celebrate the 10th anniversary of this event: The Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit. Clearly, we were on to something big.
Our Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index found that among 47 high-income countries (as defined by the World Bank), the physical well-being of unemployed young adults between the ages of 15 to 29 is statistically tied with employed people aged 50 and older — 26% vs. 24% thriving, respectively. And in the U.S., where we were able to analyze a sufficient sample size, unemployed youth have a worse physical well-being compared with employed older adults — 23% vs. 31% thriving. (Gallup and Healthways define “thriving” physical well-being as consistently having good health and enough energy to get things done each day.)