Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator

A public-private partnership aimed at increasing the employment prospects of marginalized young people in South Africa

The South African economy is one of the least inclusive on the planet, with very low levels of employment leading to high levels of poverty and inequality. The low level of economic inclusion is reinforced by deep inequalities in entry-level work-seekers’ access to employment opportunities, with those growing up in households in which no adults work being significantly less likely to find employment. Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator is a large-scale employer-initiated project that seeks to overcome some of the forces of exclusion by working with partner employers to place some of the young people who are most excluded into formal sector jobs, and to increase the chances of those who are so placed of staying in employment for 12 months.

Having been established in 2011, Harambee has had significant success, having placed 15,000 of the most disadvantaged young people in entry-level jobs in the formal sector. Apart from the benefits for the young people who find employment, Harambee’s model increases the country’s pool of work-ready young people, with those who have gone through the programme being better able to signal their qualities to potential employers. It has also helped integrate new people into employment networks, broadening the range of people with access to information about job openings.

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Author: Antony Altbeker

Antony Altbeker

Between 1994 and 2001, Antony Altbeker worked in government, focusing mainly on issues relating to crime and policing, holding senior policy positions first at the Ministry for Safety and Security and then at the National Treasury. Since 2001, Antony has worked as an independent consultant, as lecturer in public policy and as a researcher at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and the Institute for Security Studies, and the Centre for Development and Enterprise’s, where he was director of research and programmes. Antony has authored and co-authored a large number of articles and book chapters in academic and non-academic publications, and has consulted to a wide range of institutions including the SAPS, the Department for Safety and Security, the National Treasury, the World Bank, DfID, the Banking Council, and the City of Johannesburg. He is also the author of three best-selling books, The Dirty Work of Democracy: A Year on the Streets with the SAPS (2005), A Country at War with Itself: South Africa’s Crisis of Crime (2007) and Fruit of a Poisoned Tree: A True Story of Murder and the Miscarriage of Justice (2010).