Employment-Intensive Investment in Malawai

Web page | 07 February 2017

Current EIIP Involvement

Due to the youthful nature of its population (two-thirds of the population is under age 25), the need to create current and future employment is at the heart of Malawi’s development policies. The main legal framework for youth employment in Malawi is the Employment Act of 2000. The Act sets a minimum age for work at 14 years, as long as it does not interfere with education, and a minimum age for hazardous work at 18 years. However, the country’s youth employment options are very limited due to a low level of economic activity. A generation of jobless young Malawians blighted by an unemployment crisis is threatening the country's cherished stability.

Most unemployed Malawians face multi-pronged challenges to enter and remain the labour market, including lack of marketable skills, relevant experience and timely information. A holistic approach is therefore required to address these challenges including the realigning public investment on job-rich sectors to create more and better jobs. The approach should be based on thorough assessment of the employment impact of various investment and sector policies to ensure effective targeting and maximise employment in the country.

In 2015, at the request of Ministry of Labour, Malawi, the EIIP carried out a rapid assessment of the job-creation potential in agriculture and infrastructure sectors, which was submitted by the Government for consideration under the African Development Bank (AfDB)’s Jobs for Youth in Africa programme. The proposed project was intended to reduce vulnerability of young women and men by creating an enabling environment for their participation in the rural infrastructure development as well as benefiting from social protection services. The project was also intended to address the weak Intra and Inter Sectoral Linkages and lack of policy coherence in the country through advocating and promoting inclusive development strategies and programmes. The abridged version of the proposed project is now being implemented by the Government of Malawi with a funding from the AfDB. The EIIP will be supporting the implementation of the project under the newly negotiated project funded by the Irish Government.

Historical Information

The ILO supported the Malawi government in building national capacity for the planning and implementation of employment-intensive programmes and projects as well as in establishing technical Training Centre in the road sub-sector. The employment-intensive approach is one of the key Government strategies for maximising job creation and mainstreaming of rights issues in the infrastructure sector and is used as the main vehicle for rolling out of national employment policies.