addressing youth unemployment in south africa

Addressing Youth Unemployment in South Africa

South Africa is faced with increasing rates of unemployment which are generally more pronounced in middle-income countries. The youth in particular are facing severe unemployment rates, with incidences higher than in older age groups. An estimated 63% of fifteen- to twenty-four-year-olds are unemployed and looking for work. When including discouraged workers, the unemployment rates are as high as 74%.1 In relation to this crises, entrepreneurial development has been recognised as a potential solution for job creation and is considered as a critical pillar of South Africa’s 2030 National Development Plan (National Planning Commission, 2011). The country is, however, yet to see favourable results in addressing the alarming levels of youth unemployment, which remain among the highest in Africa. The high rate of youth unemployment is a global problem that is not just prevalent in South Africa and although entrepreneurship is seen to positively impact economic development, there are limited methods to measure youth entrepreneurship propensity and to determine new venture creation potential. This has lead us to the development of our Entrepreneurship Propensity Index (EPI) as an effective solution for the collection of comparable data on which to inform interventions that can be used to improve outcomes related to entrepreneurship development and job creation policy targets.

There are more than 25 000 schools, 400 000 teachers and close to 13-million learners, in public and independent schools in the country.2 We believe that these schools can play an important role in relation to entrepreneurship development, in line with the NDP’s Sustainable Development Goals.3 There is a lack of data on the impact of NDP implementation plans on youth entrepreneurship in South Africa. The effective measurement of youth entrepreneurship propensity can, therefore, be seen as a strategic imperative to enable the identification of high-propensity youth (high school students), as they stand to have the greatest impact on future job creation and economic development in the country. We make use of our proprietary Entrepreneurship Propensity Index (EPI) to effectively measure entrepreneurship propensity in order to design and develop entrepreneurship support interventions which can be used to address the unemployment crises in South Africa. We aim to educate, inspire, nurture, and support youth entrepreneurs, thereby increasing the supply of entrepreneurs into the economy.

1 World Bank Group (2021), 2 Gillett (2020), 3 Department of Basic Education (2020)

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