Young welder in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Youth employment in Ethiopia

At the initiation of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Big Win Philanthropy is developing a partnership with the Ethiopian government to create 1 million quality jobs for young people.

70% of Ethiopia's population is under the age of 30
1 million quality jobs are intended to be created by the partnership

With a large and rapidly growing youth population, generating productive youth employment is an urgent priority for Ethiopia to improve young people’s lives, build social stability and realize the potential economic benefit of a demographic dividend. Seventy per cent of Ethiopia’s population is under the age of 30, and by 2020 13 million young people will be seeking jobs. To add to the challenge, many of those who are in work are not earning enough to lift themselves out of poverty.

The partnership will aim to create quality jobs – skilled, secure, and with decent pay and conditions. There are many challenges to employment creation, including a mismatch between the skills of young people and employment opportunities, the availability of basic infrastructure, the availability of investment and the need for coordination between different government sectors.

An important element of success of national and regional employment initiatives is the multisectoral leadership and collaboration required to address systemic labour market challenges, identify areas where cross-cutting consensus is required, and champion innovative approaches. In Ethiopia, this will involve exploring new opportunities for diversifying long-term economic growth in sectors with the best potential to create quality jobs such as health, ICT, agri-business, aviation, and tourism while promoting innovation and entrepreneurship so that the government’s efforts are sustainable.

Youth employment is a top priority for Ethiopia’s new government and will now be championed by H.E. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to ensure alignment of cross-sectoral efforts at the highest political level. In parallel with this national political alignment, the Oromia region will be utilized as a demonstration model for other regions in the country, with work undertaken over a one year period to “unlock” over 1,300 stalled projects which have the potential to create 455,000 jobs.

The initial phase of the partnership will launch with a high-level workshop led by Pemandu Associates and will focus on aligning the program around definitions of “quality jobs”, dealing with issues such as levels of remuneration, stability of employment and working conditions. Pemandu is a consultancy that grew out of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit in the Prime Minister’s Office in Malaysia, and is credited with having played a major role in the successful Malaysian experience of creating employment opportunities for young people.