More than nine-million young South Africans are not in employment, education or training (NEET). While the implications of the July insurrection are still unclear, the opportunistic looting that we saw clearly reflected young people’s rising frustration and desperation. Speaking to a South African audience in November 2020, Paul Romer, Nobel Prize winner, said that if South Africa does not solve the problem of youth unemployment, it may not matter what other problems we do solve.
CDE’s new report, South Africa’s NEETs crisis: Why we are failing to connect young people to work, summarises our latest research on young people and the challenges they face in trying to access economic opportunities.
The report investigates what it would take to get millions of young people into the kind of training that would substantially improve their employment prospects. Our conclusion is that any hope of making a real difference requires bold simultaneous reforms. We have to fix the public training system, and we have to remove the constraints on labour intensive growth within the economy. It will not help to do one without the other, and both must be tackled vigorously. The time for tweaking, for projects that help a few people but leave everything else unchanged, has long passed.
Report by the Centre for Development and Enterprise
This work has been funded by the Standard Bank Tutuwa Community Foundation