The Dutch Knowledge Platforms

Promoting Productive and Sustainable Employment: Elaborating a Knowledge and Research Agenda.

Draft note, prepared for the meeting of the Knowledge Platform Development Policies in Accra, Ghana, 3-5 April, 2013.

By Adam Szirmai, Mulu Gebreeyesus, Francesca Guadagno and Bart Verspagen, 28 March 2013.

This note provides a brief overview of current research and knowledge on employment trends and employment creation in sub-Saharan Africa. The aim is to reflect on our present state of knowledge, identify gaps in our knowledge and understanding, and to contribute to evidence-based policy debates. The emphasis is on the productive and sustainable nature of employment, rather than on the quantity of labour demand, or the rate of unemployment. This is a result of the specific situation in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where the employment problem is more one of job quality, than job quantity. The employment problem does not primarily manifest itself as open unemployment, but as vulnerable and low quality employment. Open unemployment is scarce in Africa, but very large numbers of the working population are employed in agricultural and the informal service sector where productivity is low and there is a high degree of job vulnerability.

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