Youth Inclusion in COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plans in Sub-Saharan Africa

Project Duration

April 2021 - June 2021

Project Funder

Ford Foundation

Project issues/theme

Adolescents and Youth

ICRW Project Director

Chimaraoke Izugbara


Young people comprise 60 percent of Africa’s population, and they will bear the greatest share of the impacts of COVID-19, which has exacerbated existing vulnerabilities. With support from the Ford Foundation, ICRW will map and analyze the extent to which young people are being included in national and regional economic recovery processes across sub-Saharan Africa. This will include a broad picture of the overall landscape and in-depth analysis of three to five countries.

What Will We Set Out to Do?

ICRW will explore how recovery policies integrate the needs and voices of young Africans, including how they respond to the multiple and diverse facets of young peoples’ identities — such as gender, age, race, educational and marital status, ethnicity, disability, migration and refugee status.

Specifically, ICRW aims to:

  1. Undertake in-depth analysis of select national economic recovery efforts and their long-term implications, including specific measures established by countries as well as domestic and external resource mobilization efforts
  2. Conduct a landscape analysis of the economic recovery efforts led by regional economic communities, pan-African institutions, international institutions and other bilateral Africa-focused efforts
  3. Analyze the extent of youth inclusion in the recovery process, preliminary work for economic recovery and related policy formulation
  4. Identify gaps in the policies and systems and explore how governments can make and sustain improvements over time
  5. Distill the long-term implications of recovery programs for young people, identifying potential sectors of economic opportunity for young people, where there are opportunities at scale, and long-term strategic gains
  6. Recommend strategies for better integrating the perspectives and voices of young people into the recovery process

What Methods will we use?

ICRW will conduct a desk review and policy scan of published materials on COVID-19 recovery policies in target countries and analyze secondary data around COVID-19 interventions. We will then conduct a series of key informant interviews with stakeholders in selected countries, such as representatives of relevant regional and international organizations and youth leaders. Finally, we will develop in-depth profiles of economic recovery packages in three to five countries chosen in conjunction with the donor.

Priority countries may include: South Africa (with the highest reported COVID-19 caseload in Africa); Nigeria (the region’s largest economy); Senegal and Rwanda (the poster-children on how to tackle the coronavirus in Africa); Tanzania (declared “coronavirus-free” since June 2020 by its president); Kenya (the economic hub of east Africa); and Uganda (Africa’s second youngest population with over 78 percent of its population below 30).

*Findings are expected in June 2021.