Makerere’s Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) and Brookings Institution, USA, have inked a memorandum of understand to jointly undertake a study addressing African Youth unemployment through Industries without Smokestacks(IWOSS).The 2019-2021 initiative is focused on the formal employment creation of these industries to address the youth unemployment challenges in Africa.
It is conceived that while many efforts and interventions have focused on the supply side of the labour market, large-scale demand –side efforts have been limited. The project’s goal is to fill this gap and inform strategies and effective policies to address youth unemployment and job creation challenges in Africa.
Over the next three years, activities will include in-depth research, high-level engagement and broad dissemination. Specific countries of focus besides Uganda include Ghana, South Africa, Senegal and Kenya.
This project is a joint initiative between EPRC and Brookings’s Africa Growth Initiative (AGI) with specific deliveries being a series of workshops to discuss research methodology, review of draft publications; in-depth country and sector studies. Others will be disseminations including supplemental blogs and or podcasts, in country and US based events and discussions, policy briefs and contributions to related publications and presentations at select fora.
In support of the goals of the initiative led by Dr.Brahima S.Culibaly,AGI Director and Senior Fellow,Dr.Haroon Bhorat a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution ,EPRC will lead the country case study for Uganda to assess the scope for IWOSS in the country to generate large scale formal employment opportunities for young people.
Leveraging frameworks developed for this purpose,EPRC will also conduct action oriented research to identify ,in collaboration with the project leadership team, the key IWOSS in Uganda with greatest scope to contribute to economic development; identify the key constraints to growth of these industries including infrastructure,s kills, regulatory requirements, capacity to export, agglomeration, and firms’ capabilities.
The study will assess the current employment creation potential along the value chains, where applicable, of these industries both under the current sectoral growth trajectory and economic and policy environment, as well as projected employment opportunities where constraints are addressed.
It will also assess the labour skills, particularly soft and digital skills, requirements of IWOSS, compare these requirements to existing labour skills of the unemployed youth to document any gaps, and suggest policy interventions to bridge them.
As part of the research, EPRC will conduct, as appropriate, interviews with a gender-balanced sample of key stakeholders including unemployed or underemployed youth, policy makers, the private sector, and experts.