The inequality of opportunity and youth employment in Sub-Saharan Africa

Atif Awad*, M. Azhar Hussain

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The present study has aimed to determine how factors beyond the control of youths (15–29 years) have determined their chance to find employment opportunities in six Sub-Saharan Africa countries (The Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo), Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Uganda, and Zambia). Data from the school-to-work transition surveys from 2014 and 2015, carried out by the International Labor Office, was utilised. For each country, the Human Opportunity Index, as developed by the World Bank, was calculated. Second, the contribution of each factor to that index was calculated. The results showed that while the Congo had relatively high employment dissimilarity, originating from given circumstances, Madagascar, Malawi, and Uganda had comparatively low employment dissimilarity indices. Likewise, the study detected that among factors beyond the control of youths that determined their chance to find employment, particularly parental occupation, was found to be a fundamental driver of creating a difference in employment chances for their offspring. Overall, the results implied that effort-based inequalities and not inequality caused by factors beyond individual control played a significant role in explaining the status of youths in the labour market.
Translated title of the contributionUlighed i muligheder og ungdomsarbejdsløshed i syd for Sahara Afrika
Original languageEnglish
Article numberOnline
JournalLabor History
Issue numberOnine
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Dec 2020

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