Addressing Youth Employment Through Micro- and Small-Enterprise Development in Ethiopia
Youth unemployment has emerged as a key challenge facing developing and developed countries, including Ethiopia. What policies and programs promote youth employment, and what role can the private sector play? This project aims to provide solid evidence on whether the Ethiopian government's efforts are helping youth, who is benefiting and who is not, and how policies and interventions can be better designed to enhance results. Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, with an average GDP rate of 8 to 9% per year over the past decade. Despite this impressive growth, the unemployment rate has remained high-particularly among youth-and inequality has risen sharply. Unemployment, estimated at 19%, is one of the highest in the region. The Ethiopian government is making it a priority to address this problem with its five-year Growth and Transformation Plan 2011-2015. Specifically, the government will provide support to youth to start small businesses and to youth-led micro- and small-enterprises. In this context, this project seeks to: -generate a deeper understanding of the barriers and challenges young Ethiopian men and women face in the labour market, particularly when it comes to gainful self-employment -examine what policies and interventions work to foster youth employment and what does not work -assess the specific challenges young men and women face that should be incorporated into policy and program design and -provide empirical evidence to inform the design of Ethiopia's second Growth and Transformation Plan, specifically as it relates to addressing youth unemployment. The Association of Ethiopian Microfinance Institutions will manage the project, bringing together a multidisciplinary group of experts from various institutions.