Youth empowerment and development in African cities

Young people are central to the opportunities, challenges and crises facing African cities. With 70% of sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 30, urban youth is set to play a potentially game-changing role in development outcomes across African cities in the coming decades. City life for young people is often associated with a “modern” lifestyle. The prospect of dynamic urban environments is a major pull-factor for young migrants, who are drawn to cities in the hope of realising their aspirations. They join large urban youth populations, who are all looking for good, well-paid work opportunities, better access to higher education, infrastructure and services, amongst others. But they are often disappointed. For young Africans, these urban “promises” and potentials often fail to translate into better social and economic mobility for their generation. Instead, they face a broad range of deep vulnerabilities.

To address these complex and interconnected challenges, ACRC’s youth domain research will explore some key issues, initially in three of the cities where our research is based: Freetown, Maiduguri and Mogadishu.

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