Inclusive societies and development

Invest more in training of young Malawians to strengthen economy, says new OECD Development Centre study


Lilongwe, 23 January 2018  - Malawi’s economy has not grown fast enough in recent years to create decent jobs for the majority of its employable youth. Improving the supply of Technical, entrepreneurial and vocational education and training (TEVET) can provide them with better opportunities in the labour market, while fostering economic diversification and productivity, according to the OECD Development Centre’s Youth Well-Being Policy Review in Malawi.

The study was launched today in Lilongwe by the Development Centre of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Delegation of the European Union (DEU) to the Republic of Malawi, and the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development (MoLYSMD) of the Republic of Malawi in the presence of Minister Francis Kasaila.

With more than 46% of the population below age 15, and those aged 15-29 accounting for more than one-quarter of it, Malawi’s youth will remain the majority for the next decades, yet they face multiple and interconnected challenges.

The OECD Development Centre’s analysis of youth well-being in Malawi uses an innovative multi-dimensional approach to assess their situation in health, education, employment and civic participation. The study shows that more than one-fifth of Malawian youth suffer multiple, simultaneous well-being deprivations. Rural youth and young women in particular face difficulties with respect to all dimensions.

The study reveals that even though the overall health situation of young Malawians has improved substantially, youth mortality remains high, mainly due to HIV/AIDS related deaths and maternal conditions. Civic engagement and political participation of young people is relatively high. Yet only around half of the young people trust in the institutions in Malawi and hardly one third trust the honesty of elections.

According to the study, school enrolment has been increasing but a large share of young people drop out very early and do not acquire sufficient numeracy and reading skills to interpret meaning and translate verbal operations into arithmetic operations (according to SACMEQ competences levels). Only 36.5% of young people aged 15-29 have completed primary education and very few have obtained secondary, TEVET or tertiary degrees: 13.5%, 2.2% and 0.8% respectively. Moreover, the official unemployment rate among youth may be relatively low, but job quality remains an important challenge: 25% of young workers are facing underemployment and 84% are working in the informal sector. As a result, lack of experience and employable skills leave a majority of young people unfit for the labour market: 82% are underqualified for their current jobs.

By setting up of the Malawian TEVET Authority (TEVETA) 19 years ago, the government has recognised TEVET as a way of facilitate the transition of youth into employment and contribute to Malawi’s development. However, much remains to be done in terms of access, governance, quality and relevance. The study recommends clarifying the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders and training providers, and developing a comprehensive information system of TEVET in order to improve its coherence and attractiveness.

Increasing the number of TEVET offerings with lower entry requirements in terms of education levels, recognising the importance of non-formal training and supporting traditional apprenticeship would help increase access to, and equity of TEVET opportunities, especially for disadvantaged youth. Moreover, improved teaching quality, strengthened provision of entrepreneurial skills in all TEVET courses and better linkages with the private sector are essential to enhance the quality and relevance of these programmes, and respond to labour market needs.

For more information or to obtain a copy of the study, journalists are invited to contact Bochra Kriout (; Tel: +33 (0)1 45 24 82 96) at the OECD Development Centre’s Press Office.



The Youth Well-being Policy Review of Malawi is part of the OECD Development Centre’s Youth Inclusion Project, co-financed by the European Union. The project covers eight other countries: Cambodia, Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Jordan, Moldova, Peru, Togo and Viet Nam.

Click here to find more about the study 





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