Labour Market Dynamics in Times of Crisis: Evidence from Africa

Across the world, young people and women have suffered a disproportionate increase in unemployment. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), joblessness among young people (aged 15-25) has increased by seven percentage points since the start of the global financial crisis - the largest two-year increase on record in countries for which data is available. High levels of youth unemployment are problematic, because young people who do not go to school or work are likely to deskill and may develop social problems that reinforce their exclusion from the labour market. They also form a volatile political constituency. And, in some African countries, the situation is complicated by civil war, political unrest and internal displacement.

This project aims to provide evidence on how labour markets across a number of different African countries respond to external crises. By examining recent panel data from Ghana, Madagascar, South Africa and Uganda, plus cross-sectional data from Kenya, researchers will track how the labour trajectories for men and women change over time, and the links between firm outcomes and labour markets. It is hoped that the findings will help policymakers design interventions to reduce the impact of crises on labour markets in developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

End Date

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


36 months

IDRC Officer

Okwi, Paul

Total funding

CA$ 791,200


Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda, South Africa, South of Sahara


Employment and Growth

Project Leader

Prof. Neil Rankin


WITS Commercial Enterprise (Proprietary) Limited

Institution Country

South Africa

Institution Website