Research for Policy Action

BPSR Policy Note: Tackling Youth Unemployment in Nigeria

Youth unemployment is a global concern with developing countries facing acute unemployment in the formal and informal labour markets. Nigeria, with the largest youth population in Africa, is no exception. In Nigeria young people account for two thirds of Nigeria’s unemployed and underemployed. According to the 2016 Global Youth Development Index, Nigeria ranked 158th out of 183 countries in the domain of employment and opportunities. One unique feature of the economic growth problem in Nigeria is its inability to create more jobs. Considering the growing youth population, estimated to reach 135 million by 2020, this is a significant concern. The current growth rate of the population, which outpaces growth rate of employment generation, is indeed a policy consideration in addressing youth employment and productivity. The recent downturn of economic activities further exacerbates the wage employment deficit amongst the youth. This policy note takes a close look at Nigeria’s youth unemployment challenges and examines government’s approaches to tackling the menace of unemployment through various initiatives and job creation interventions. It considers how the framing of the problem and availability of data has undermined previous attempts, and looks to more informed approaches to tackle youth unemployment in Nigeria. It also offers perspectives on the strategic role and capacity of the private sector to create jobs, which is crucial in addressing the pressing unemployment problem in Nigeria. It provides recommendations to address the immediate and longer-term aspects of the youth unemployment challenge.

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Youth Unemployment

Focus Area(s): Youth Unemployment

Country of Reform: Nigeria

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