In Niger, young people represent the vast majority of the population. Rapid population growth creates a high demand for public investments in health and education and raises the issue of the place and role of young people in Niger’s society.
The issue of youths’ insertion in the labour market and ability to engage in entrepreneurial initiatives is particularly acute, since half of the youth are estimated to be underemployed (ENISED 2015).
Despite several policies implemented under the 2011-2015 Economic and Social Development Plan to develop youth employment, the majority of young people continue to face difficulties entering the labor market and finding ways to support themselves and enter adulthood (Masquelier 2012). Understanding youth dynamics and factors underlying the aspirations of young people is essential to achieve meaningful participation of this large segment of the population in the social and economic development of Niger.
The Government of Niger identified the need to generate new knowledge on Niger’s youths in order to shed light on the effectiveness of youth policies based on an understanding of young people’s aspirations and constraints, how these relate to their environment, and their perceptions about the State and its interventions.
Understanding the dynamics affecting young people
UNICEF, the World Bank and USAID agreed to support the Government of Niger to conduct an assessment to analyse the situation of the youths in Niger, identify the challenges and constraints that they face, and rethink the relevance and effectiveness of policies and programs intended for them, in order to define the necessary adjustments for the possibility of an actual integration of the Nigerien youth in areas related to economy and employment, citizen participation and peace building in the community at large.
More specifically, the project aimed to achieve the following objectives:
• Drawing up an inventory of projects and programmes targeting the employment of young people over the last decade, bringing out their main characteristics, and drawing up a first inventory of the relevance and effectiveness of the programme on the basis of existing assessments;
• Presenting the characteristics of the different categories of young people, the problems and the social and economic exclusion and inclusion dynamics of challenges they are facing per category and with a particular focus on gender related dynamics;
• Capturing the perception of young people about the role they can / should / want to play in the economic, social and political development of Niger;
• Capturing the perception of decision-makers, politicians, religious leaders, village chiefs, key actors of the community working with the youth (teachers, parents, etc.), actors of the private and public sectors, researchers, media, about the role that the youth can / should play in the economic, social and political development of Niger;
• Developing a unifying vision, around the various youths in aiming at coming up with relevant and effective policies to support the economic, social and political integration of young people;
• Making recommendations to decision-makers and other stakeholders to better target interventions in favour of young people, taking into account regional specificities.
Key findings of the youth assessment
Participatory survey of youth in Niger
This study aims to contribute to the improvement of the effectiveness of policies intended to support youth in order to increase their participation in the economic, social and the sustainable development of Niger, to produce knowledge to better understand the social and economic exclusion and inclusion dynamics affecting different groups of young people, and to contribute to the implementation of public interventions in the field of social and economic integration of the youth, promoting inclusion and equity amongst them.