Young women’s livelihoods: a Development Impact Bond

Africa has the largest concentration of youth in the world (226 million, among which 50.1% are women), accounting for 1/5 of the world population and projected to reach 1/3 of the world population by 2050. Most African youth are characterized as NEETs - Not in Employment, Education or Training - largely driven by the lack of formal employment opportunities, limited skills and mismatch between skills and labour market demands.

Young women are disproportionately affected by youth unemployment challenges, with lower levels of education and skills and less time to dedicate to paid work given their domestic and care responsibilities. Discriminatory social & cultural norms and limited access to key assets, particularly to financial services, are another significant barrier to women’s employment and sustainable livelihoods.

In 2017, KOIS advised Canada World Youth on the feasibility study of a DIB to support young women in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The feasibility study results

Canada World Youth, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering youth to become agents of change, and KOIS partnered to explore the feasibility and relevance of a Development Impact Bond (“DIB”) focused on scaling women-focused human capital interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa, which have the potential to create income-generating opportunities for young women and improve their chances of sustaining decent livelihoods.

The feasibility study led to the prioritization of two countries – Senegal and Tanzania -, which stood out both because of their high level of inequalities with regard to young women’s employability, their favorable legal and regulatory framework as well as a particularly well-developed ecosystem of service providers.

KOIS also identified five types of interventions aimed at developing young women’s livelihoods that could be financed through a potential DIB:

  • life skills development programs

  • vocational training

  • support to entrepreneurship

  • job placement services

  • financial inclusion programs

"There is an urgent need to mainstream the collection and analysis of gender disaggregated data to expand the evidence base and foster the emergence of relevant interventions to incentivize investment in gender-sensitive programmatic areas and ultimately significantly improve outcomes for women and girls. Closing the gender gap would provide a significant economic boost in developing countries as well as globally."

Juliette Averseng, Associate, KOIS Brussels

Sources: UN (2015). Population Facts: Youth population trends and sustainable development. Note: range 15-24 years ; AFDB, 2016; Depending on the type and combination of interventions selected to be part of a potential DIB as well as on the duration of the DIB (3 or 4 years).

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