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Laterite conducted a situational analysis on school-to-work transitions in sub-Saharan Africa, funded by the Mastercard Foundation. Laterite's policy brief summarizes the key findings of this work, and provides policy recommendations for improving the transition from school to work for youth in sub-Saharan Africa.

Secondary education is often framed as a pathway to tertiary education, but this is the case for only a small minority of 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.

The majority of young people will continue to transition into the informal sector, including agriculture and household enterprises. Transitions to work, particularly into the informal sector, are often complex and non-linear as youth move in and out of employment and the education system.


This work was funded through the Mastercard Foundation's Secondary Education in Africa initiative. The full report "Background Paper: Preparing Youth for the Transition to Work" is available online. This work was presented at the UKFEIT conference on education and development in Oxford, UK on 19 September 2019.