There is a robust literature on youth employment that spans academic and grey literature. This rapid literature review combines academic and grey literature to identify larger youth employment
programmes in developing countries. The review identifies the countries, which have a national youth policy. There is no literature that assesses the sustainability of national youth policies. Rather, the literature makes general statements regarding the issues that governments should address in their national youth policy. The literature makes little reference to the scale of youth
employment programmes and consequently, there is no consensus regarding the criteria for determining which interventions are large in terms of scale. However, larger youth employment programmes tend to derive all or some of their funding from domestic governments (Fox & Kaul, 2017; Kluve et al., 2016). The data from the Youth Policy Lab on national youth policies can be
combined with the data on publicly funded youth employment programmes to determine which countries have both national youth policies and larger youth employment interventions. This
review does not encompass public works programmes or other employment promotion interventions that do not specifically target the youth.
The literature concentrates on explaining the root causes of youth unemployment and advocating for holistic policy responses from national governments, which address both supply and demand-side constraints on youth employment in developing countries (Filmer & Fox, 2014; Pieters, 2013). There are several impact assessments of youth employment interventions and a few
comprehensive meta-analysis studies, which compare findings across a range of interventions. However, there is little mention of scale with regard to youth employment programmes. There is
consensus in the literature that youth employment programmes which are partly or fully funded by domestic governments tend to be large-scale (Fox & Kaul, 2017; Kluve et al., 2016). For
example, Becate in Mexico trained around 4.75 million workers from 1984 to 2005. Government-funded programmes are more prevalent in high-income countries and Latin America and are the
least prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa (Kluve et al., 2016; Pieters, 2013). Some governments invest in creating employment for women such as Uganda while in Jordan most projects which
target women tend to be funded by the World Bank or other donors.
Youth Policy Lab maintains a database of national youth policies. The key findings from an analysis of this database are:
- Only 50% of countries in the world have national youth policies. Prevalence is highest in Europe (61%) and Oceania (73%) and lowers in Asia (47%), the Americas (47%) and Africa (39%) (Youth Policy Press, 2014);
- National youth policies exist in the following countries although some policies may be rudimentary: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Liberia, Nepal, Namibia, Mozambique, Morocco, Mexico, Maldives, Mauritius, Malawi, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Samoa, Senegal, Suriname, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
- National youth organisations are widespread in Europe and Oceania (over 90%) while they are found in 63% of African countries and in less than half the countries in Asia (49%) and the Americas (47%) (Youth Policy Press, 2014); and
- Over 90% of the countries have a national youth authority (usually a ministry or department) and there are no differences across regions (Youth Policy Press, 2014).
The meta-analysis of 113 youth employment programmes conducted by Kluve et al. (2016) found that the following countries have publicly funded youth programmes for training and skills
development: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Malawi, Mexico, Nepal, Panama, Peru and Uganda. Training and skills development programmes aim to assist youth by
improving their ability to find wage employment. In addition, Ghana and Kenya have youth employment programmes which are partly funded by domestic governments and have higher
participation rates than programmes which are funded by donors or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) (Avura & Ulzen-Appiah, 2016; Hicks, Kremer, Mbiti, & Miguel, 2011). Publicly funded entrepreneurship programmes (which assist young people to set up their own businesses rather than pursue wage employment) are found in Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Peru, Tunisia and Uganda. Wage subsidy programmes, which provide incentives for employers to hire young workers, are in Chile, South Africa, Tunisia and Turkey (Kluve et al., 2016).
The following countries have national youth policies in place and publicly-funded youth employment programmes which are anticipated to be larger in scale: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Nepal, Panama, Peru, South Africa (wage subsidies), Turkey and Uganda (Kluve et al., 2016; Youth Policy Press, 2014).