Youth well-being policy review of Malawi: A 60 seconds guide



Policy focus

Participating countries


News and Events


What is the Youth Well-being Policy Review of Malawi? 

The Youth Well-being Policy Review of Malawi provides an in-depth analysis of the situation of Malawian youth through a multidimensional approach and provides recommendations to address major policy gaps in youth well-being.

The review includes: 

  • An in-depth analysis of how youth are doing in employment, education, health and civic participation and some aspects of subjective well-being.
  • An inventory of key youth policies and programmes and a description of the institutional framework for youth development.
  • An assessment of the relevance and effectiveness of Malawi’s technical, entrepreneurial and vocational
  • education and training (TEVET).
  • An analysis of the constraints and opportunities for developing rural youth entrepreneurship.

The review is part of the Youth Inclusion project, co-funded by the European Union and implemented by the OECD Development Centre


How's life for young Malawians?

With more than 46% of the population below the age 15, and youth (aged 15-29) accounting for one-quarter of the population, Malawi is a youthful country and will remain one in the next decades. Yet, Malawian youth face multiple and interconnected challenges.

Despite the recent increase in school enrolment, early school dropout is still widespread in Malawi. Only 35% of students in primary education complete the cycle. As a result, enrolment insecondary education decreases to no more than 18%, and enrolment in vocational and tertiary education remains extremely low (2.2% and 1% respectively). Moreover, the quality of education is poor, resulting in a large share of students without functional literacy and numeracy skills.

The overall health situation of young Malawians has improved substantially, thanks to the decrease in HIV/AIDS prevalence among young women. However HIV/AIDS remains the leading cause of death among young people. Access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) remains insuffi cient, especially for young women, which increases health risks and results in frequent early pregnancies.

Youth civic engagement and political participation has reached relatively high levels, particularly among young men and young people living in urban areas. Remarkably, despite this high interest and participation, only around half of young Malawians trust in institutions and hardly one third trust the honesty of elections.

Access to decent work remains a big challenge for the young workforce in Malawi. Although the majority of young people are working, most of the time they are in low-quality employment:around 83.5% of them work in the informal sector, more than a quarter are underemployed, and 82% are underqualified for their current jobs.

Recognising the importance of education and skills for development, the government adopted several policies and strategies on TEVET but much remains to be done in terms of regulation and co-ordination. Even though TEVET capacity has increased substantially in recent years, it remains small compared to needs and a number of barriers hinder enrolment by disadvantaged youth, such as high academic entry requirements, fi nancial constraints, and socio-demographic and cultural issues. Employers highlight the lack of profi ciency in technical and organisational skills. Moreover, qualification mismatch and skills gaps remain in strategic sectors, such as mining, agro-processing, construction and tourism.

Did you know...?


Rural youth entrepreneurs in Malawi have low education levels and acquire business skills informally (80.3%), either by being selftaught (43.9%) or through family members (36.5%).


How to address those challenges?

Youth Development and Empowerment is a key priority for the Malawi Government. Its National Youth Policy (NYP, established 2013) aims to empower Malawian youth and encourage their participation in policy development. The Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development (MoLYSMD) is in charge of the development, co-ordination and implementation of all youth interventions. The work of the MoLYSMD is supported by the National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM). Various other ministries and institutions also focus on youth and implement a wide range of
policies and programmes.

Despite efforts to involve all relevant stakeholders, the government struggles to consolidate and integrate the various opinions and views of multi-sectoral actors working on youth. The MoLYSMD faces important obstacles to leading the co-ordination and implementation of youth policies effectively, notably in terms of human resources, as structural and financial constraints remain big challenges.

What can the government do?

Strengthen the institutional framework and governance of youth policies

  • Strengthen the vertical and horizontal co-ordination framework for youth policy.
  • Ensure adequate human resources by increasing the number of qualified and trained staff at district and national levels.
  • Support MoLYSMD capacity to mobilise resources and improve the transparency of youth programmes.
  • Develop a more comprehensive information system on youth to improve monitoring and evaluation.
  • Strengthen youth empowerment through increased support for direct participation in policy making.

Improve the quality and relevance of technical and vocational education to facilitate youth’s transition into the labour market

  • Improve TEVET governance by clarifying the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders and training providers.
  • Develop a comprehensive information system on TEVET based on existing information from the TEVET Authority (TEVETA).
  • Improve the TEVET system’s navigability for users and employers.
  • Increase the number of TEVET institutions, courses and offerings with lower education level entry requirements.
  • Recognise the importance of informal training and support traditional apprenticeships.
  • Improve teaching quality and strengthen provision of entrepreneurial skills in all TEVET courses.
  • Strengthen the engagement of the private sector in TEVET.

Unlock the potential of rural youth entrepreneurship

  • Integrate entrepreneurship education into formal schooling.
  • Expand and scale up TEVETA’s business skills development programmes, in particular targeting rural youth.
  • Develop youth-friendly financial products.
  • Provide information and counselling on access to finance and improve the regulatory framework for start-up finance.
  • Alleviate administrative procedures and reduce registration costs to make formalisation more attractive.
  • Develop business assistance and support services.
  • Support initiatives and institutions that allow young people to exchange ideas and share experiences.
  • Improve access to basic infrastructure services and ICT.



Related Documents