Emerging and Growth Markets | February 1, 2017

Who’s driving solutions to youth unemployment? Young people

The team at


There will be nearly 1.3 billion youths between 15 and 24 in 2030. India, for example, will need to create 12 to 17 million new jobs every year — that’s more than a million each month — to keep up with the growing labor force. In the next decade alone, 600 million young people will compete for 200 million jobs, according to the U.K.’s International Development Committee, which forecasts widespread social unrest if “the ticking timebomb” of youth unemployment is not diffused.

It’s a challenge, yes, but also an opportunity. Today’s global youth are more likely to be in school than their parents were. They are more connected through technology and social networks than any generations before them. Millions are the move, moving from countries to cities to cities abroad.

As Henri Nyakarundi’s solar-powered kiosks show, micro-franchising offers one model of job creation for self-motivated young people. Kenya’s efforts to connect its youth to online freelancing sites and prepare them for the gig economy is another. Sharing sites can connect electricians, mechanics and other tradespeople with clients. Online learning, including massive open online courses (or MOOCs) let youth access low-cost courses worldwide. “As young people develop entrepreneurial skills and as digital technology becomes more ubiquitous,” NextBillion reports, “we are likely to see more youth using technology to create their own jobs rather than relying on someone else to create opportunities for them.”

Photo credit: She Leads Africa