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Co-funded by the European Union

Business environment reforms for youth employment in ACP countries: lowering barriers to employment and recruitment

Business environment reforms for youth employment in ACP countries: lowering barriers to employment and recruitment

This report discusses potential business environment reforms (BER) that present opportunities for advancing
youth employment across African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The ACP countries face a significant
challenge in this regard, and policymakers play a crucial role in crafting a business environment that actively
supports youth employment. The report offers four broad business environment reform recommendations aimed
at facilitating the entry of young men and women into the workforce. These recommendations support the removal
of barriers to youth employment, the stimulation of more job-intensive growth now and in the future, and
the promotion of an inclusive work environment across the ACP regions.


  • Integrate Reform Suite: The most effective BERs for youth employment comprise an integrated
    approach that addresses both the demand and supply-side barriers to youth employment and
    which is aligned to broader national economic development objectives.
  • Address Youth Barriers: Policymakers should focus on creating an environment that enables
    young men and women to overcome the inherent barriers they face in joining the workforce
    across ACP countries.
  • Increase Business Productivity: Policymakers should aim to stimulate growth across the
    economy through an increase in productivity in existing businesses, industries and sectors
    Doing so, especially in MSMEs, will enable youth to find employment more easily. This can be
    achieved through offering balanced incentives for MSMEs to become formalised, which will
    enable this sector – one of the biggest employers of youth – to access the resources required
    to grow and improve productivity.
  • Invest in Growth Areas: Policymakers should adequately resource a clear understanding
    of how the job market will change over time, to establish policies directed at investing into
    growth areas to ensure young men and women in training today have jobs to move into in the
    coming years. Understanding where the growth areas will be across the ACP regions, and how
    to capitalise upon them, is vital to ensuring ACP countries remain competitive into the next
    decade and beyond.
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