Secondary education is often framed as a pathway to tertiary education, but this is not the case for many youth in sub-Saharan Africa. For most young people, the transition from school to work happens during or before secondary education.

Despite increased enrollment in secondary education, tertiary opportunities remain small. In addition, there is a mismatch between youth aspirations for salaried, formal sector jobs and the reality of the largely informal job market.

Laterite conducted a situational analysis on school-to-work transitions in sub-Saharan Africa, funded by the Mastercard Foundation. Laterite’s policy brief recommends ways to improve the transition from school to work for youth in sub-Saharan Africa.

We find that transitions to work, particularly into the informal sector, are often complex and non-linear. This is because young people tend to move in and out of employment and the education system. For the foreseeable future, the majority of young people will continue to transition into the informal sector, including agriculture and household enterprises.

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This study was funded through the Mastercard Foundation’s Secondary Education in Africa initiativeThe full report “Background Paper: Preparing Youth for the Transition to Work” is available online. Laterite Managing Partner Dimitri Stoelinga presented this work at the UKFIET conference in Oxford on 19 September 2019.