Youth unemployment in South Africa is a national crisis. No Country for Young People, is the first of three reports in a series on youth unemployment.
These reports are based on a project which involved engagements with key stakeholders in the 20 municipalities that have the largest number of unemployed young people, workshops with experts and academics, as well as commissioned research into the impact of the policy choices and actions prioritised to date.
Fewer young people in employment at the end of 2016 than there were at the beginning of 2008. On average South Africa lost around over 170 000 jobs and over the last nine years, or about 60 per day.
The scale of youth unemployment in the country must shape a bold, new agenda for action. Most of the current projects, initiatives and approaches are useful but they only make a small contribution relative to the scale of the challenge. South Africa needs millions of new jobs for the workforce we actually have, not the workforce we wish we had.
We need to put economic growth led by the most labour-intensive sectors of the economy at the centre of our development strategy. This means focusing on the reforms needed to spur more rapid growth in business investment, and, in particular, to emphasise those reforms that have the potential to facilitate the rapid expansion of labour-intensive and export-focused activities.