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On 17 February 2015, a multidisciplinary roundtable discussion was organized by the University of Cape Town’s Poverty and Inequality Initiative (PII), in collaboration with the University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA). At the meeting, representatives of various departments of national government, various academic disciplines and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL) – Africa agreed on the need for a systematic overview of research, policies and interventions related to youth unemployment. 

Aiming for a multi-disciplinary approach, UCT’s PII and UJ’s CSDA are leading a dedicated team of researchers to conduct the systematic overview, to suggest a more comprehensive and integrated Theory of Change for youth employability and to translate this into policy-oriented documents. Senior staff are collaborating to support junior researchers or post graduate students in producing the overview, synthesis and final reports.

This project is funded by the Research Project on Employment, Income Distribution, and Inclusive Growth (REDI3x3) which receives its funding from the Jobs Fund. The steering committee comprises individuals from the academic community and members of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), the Presidency and the National Treasury. The goal of this agreed programme is to identify and synthesise: 


1.    the available evidence on the drivers of youth unemployment; 
2.    the historical development and implementation of policies aimed at increasing youth employability in South Africa; and 
3.    the available evidence on interventions and their effectiveness. 

In a final stage of the project, a systematic ‘map’ will be designed that compares the research evidence, policies, and interventions, in order to identify the areas where the three relate, but especially where policies and interventions should aim to be more comprehensive, context and/or target group-specific.