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Economic Inclusion

The National Business Initiative’s (NBI) Economic Inclusion Unit has a core mandate to develop and deliver programmes and initiatives aimed at developing and empowering South Africa youth through Skills, Youth Employability and SME Support. This is at the heart of our everyday work.

Through collaborative action with our strategic partners and stakeholders, our Economic Inclusion Unit has continued to create and unlock opportunities that have enabled young people to participate in the economy.


This has allowed them to capitalise on employment opportunities in both the formal and informal economy, which has seen the NBI play a key role in contributing towards building an inclusive economy and improving the lives of many young people.


The South African economy continues to face strong head winds, which have impacted growth and have had a significant impact on the rate of unemployment, particularly for youth and women. According to Stats SA, at the end of the first quarter of 2023:

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Youth aged 15-24 years and 25-34 years recorded the highest unemployment rates of 62,1% and 40,7% respectively.

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Approximately 3,7 million (36,1%) out of 10,2 million young people aged 15-24 years were not in employment, education or training (NEET).

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The graduate unemployment rate (10,6%) is 22,3 percentage points lower than the national official unemployment rate.

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Black African women continue to be the most vulnerable with an unemployment rate of 39,9% in Q1:2023. This is 4,5 percentage points higher than the national average for women, which is at 35,4%.

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The formal sector in South Africa accounts for 69,1% of total employment compared to 18.9% for the informal sector, 6.5% for private households and 5.5% for the agricultural sector.

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The unemployment rate among the Black African (37,2%) population group remains higher than the national average and the other population groups.

*These statistics form the basis for the work of the NBI’s Economic Inclusion Unit.


The Installation, Repair and Maintenance (IRM) Initiative

Since 2019, the Economic Inclusion Unit of the NBI has been spearheading a multi-faceted and multi-sector partnership, which is focused on expanding and growing pathways for young people to access Installation, Repair and Maintenance (IRM) occupations.

Skills & Youth Employability

The Skills & Youth Employability programme aims to harness business expertise and resources to unlock demand for skills in the labour market and build inclusive pathways to learning and employment across the economy.

Township Economy

Township Economy – SME and Supplier Development Expanding opportunities in the Township Economy

This Programme aims to support township-based Artisanal Entrepreneurs to expand and grow their businesses, through increased market access, funding and support, on the condition that they train and hire young people in IRM occupations.

Dr Anthony Gewer

Dr Anthony Gewer

Senior Programme Manager: Economic Inclusion

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