Entrepreneurship as a Possible Solution to Youth Unemployment in Africa

Living reference work entry
Part of the Geographies of Children and Young People book series (GCYP, volume 10)


Despite rapid economic growth in recent years, youth unemployment in Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa, has remained stubbornly high. This situation has compelled unemployed young people, in particular those not at school, to venture into self-employment in the informal sector. Governments in sub-Saharan African countries (SSA), unable to underwrite labor markets in which there is regular or secure employment in the formal sector, are promoting entrepreneurship as a means of addressing employment challenges that young people face. This chapter argues that although the optimism concerning the entry of youth into entrepreneurship may be justified, the effect in terms of reducing unemployment and underemployment is rather complex. Entrepreneurship appears to provide both pathways out of poverty and mitigation against severe poverty for some young people. Unlike the majority of nonentrepreneurial youth (that is, those not involved in running a business venture), some entrepreneurial youth, especially older ones, can develop sustained economic activities and can, it seems, pursue independent livelihoods. However, the majority of youth face a vast complex of issues and challenges in starting and running viable businesses which makes it difficult for them to pursue successful livelihoods.


Sub-Saharan Africa Entrepreneurship Informal sector Livelihoods Unemployment Youth 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Development StudiesUniversity of ZambiaKalundu, LusakaZambia

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