Unlocking the Potential of Youth Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries

From Subsistence to Performance

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Demographic pressure and the youth bulge in the developing world pose a major employment challenge. This situation is exacerbated by insufficient job creation, scarce formal wage employment opportunities and vulnerability in the workplace. For these reasons, fostering youth entrepreneurship has gained importance in the global and national development policy agenda. This report aims to contribute to the ongoing debate on the role of youth entrepreneurship in generating employment in developing countries. It is based on the analysis of mixed labour force and enterprise surveys conducted in Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Peru and Viet Nam, as well as evidence on the impact of entrepreneurship programmes. This report’s findings add to the global debate on youth entrepreneurship in three important ways. First, it constitutes an unprecedented effort to capture the real situations and multiple faces of young entrepreneurs in selected developing countries. Second, it provides new empirical evidence on the determinants of youth entrepreneurial performance. Third, it proposes a policy roadmap based on lessons learned from recent meta-analyses of the effectiveness of entrepreneurship programmes.

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Assessment and recommendations

OECD Development Centre

As many as 600 million jobs will need to be created worldwide over the next 15 years to keep employment rates at their current level. The employment challenge is particularly pressing in developing countries, where demographic pressures are often stronger, wage employment opportunities are scarce and formal job creation is insufficient to give most youth access to decent work. In this context, fostering youth entrepreneurship has gained importance on the global and national policy agendas as a way to expand employment and earning opportunities.

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