Mauritania: Ad772 - Mauritian Youth See Jobs, Crime, and Economy As Top Priorities for Government Attention

23 February 2024

Young citizens are less likely than their elders to engage in political and civic activities.

Key findings

  • Unemployment, insecurity, and management of the economy are the most important problems that Mauritian youth (aged 18-35 years) want their government to address. They are significantly more likely than their elders to prioritise job creation.
  • Mauritian youth have more education than their elders. Almost all young Mauritians (96%) have secondary or post-secondary schooling, compared to 79% in the 36-55 age group and 47% in the over-55 cohort.
  • Only a small minority of young Mauritians say the government is doing a good job of addressing unemployment (14%), reducing crime (18%), managing the economy (18%), improving the living standards of the poor (18%), and fighting corruption (16%).
  • Fewer than half of youth approve of the performance of their prime minister (46%), president (23%), National Assembly member (35%), and municipal or district councillor (47%).
  • Only 46% of Mauritian youth describe their personal living conditions as "fairly good" or "very good," while 33% say they are "fairly bad" or "very bad."
  • Young Mauritians are less likely than their elders to vote in elections, contact political leaders, join others to raise an issue, and attend community meetings.

The Global Youth Development Index ranks Mauritius as a "high youth development" country, 54th in the world and No. 1 in Africa in promoting youth education, employment, health, equality and inclusion, peace and security, and political and civic participation (Commonwealth Secretariat, 2021).

Yet according to Statistics Mauritius (2023), more than one-third (35%) of Mauritians outside the labour force in the first quarter of 2023 were aged 16-24, reflecting youth unemployment that is about triple the national average (20% vs. 6.7%).

Mauritius' National Youth Policy, which defines "youth" as persons between the ages of 14 and 35 years, promotes a holistic view of youth development, in line with the aspirations of the African Youth Charter (Republic of Mauritius, 2016; UNFPA, 2012). The government has implemented a variety of initiatives to promote youth employment, most notably the Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP), which aims to bridge the gap between education and the labour market by equipping unemployed young people with skills training through professional placement (Ministry of Labour, Human Resource Development and Training, 2022).

How do Mauritian youth experience their own development?

Findings from the most recent Afrobarometer survey show that unemployment is the most important problem that young Mauritians want their government to address, followed by crime/insecurity and management of the economy.

Few young Mauritians believe their government is doing an adequate job on economic issues or job creation, and many disapprove of the job performance of their elected leaders. Findings also suggest that youth in the country could make better use of the political and civic avenues available to them to ensure that their voices and priorities are heard.

Asafika Mpako Asafika is the communications coordinator for Southern Africa

Suhaylah Peeraullee Suhaylah Peeraullee is the Head of Research and Consulting at StraConsult.

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