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Systematic overview of youth unemployment in South Africa

This study examined both the evidence about what drives youth unemployment, the policy and programmatic interventions that have sought to address it, as well as the government agencies that have been tasked with dealing with youth unemployment. The report grew out of the identification and assessment of 1 294 research papers, 376 government documents and articles, and 2 759 programme descriptions and evaluations spanning the period 1990 to 2016. Out of these, a set of relevant articles and documents were identified for full review. Based on the review findings, the authors propose four theories of change, each focusing on one aspect of the youth unemployment challenge.

An executive summary of the report is also available.

Other resources

How to build a future for SA's  youth
Lauren Graham, Leila Patel, Ariane de Lannoy, Murray Leibbrandt
Mail & Guardian,
14 September 2018

What South Africa can do about youth unemployment in the short run
Lauren Graham and Ariane De Lannoy
The Conversation, 9 February 2017 

Youth unemployment: what can we do in the short run?
Lauren Graham and Ariane De Lannoy
An Econ3x3 Policy Brief, 2016

New generation faces old problem: lack of skills and education
Ariane De Lannoy and Pippa Green
Business Day, 15 June 2016

Empower the youth to power SA’s development
IOL, 30 June 2016 
Ariane De Lannoy and Lauren Graham with Amy Musgrave

Youth unemployment in South Africa: Understanding the challenge and working on solutions
Lauren Graham and Cecil Mlatseni
South African Child Gauge, November 2015

Fees campaign is just the tip of the iceberg for our jobless youth
Lauren Graham
The Star, 10 November 2015, p. 7