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2017 Policy Forum

Promoting youth and female entrepreneurship:
Evidence-based policy options

June 14, 2017 | Nairobi, Kenya                

In developing countries, youth and women face particular challenges to participating in labor markets. While the importance of youth participation to enhance a country’s prospects for the future of its economy is clear, a significant body of evidence also shows that economic development and female empowerment are closely related.

Labor market rigidities tend to exclude many low-skilled individuals, especially women and youth, forcing them into self-employment and restricting growth options for the corresponding economies. Inclusive growth strategies, therefore, need to include policies that support and facilitate the entrepreneurial activities of these marginalized groups. 

A great number of research teams, supported under the PEP program for Policy Analysis on Growth and Employment (PAGE) between 2013 and 2016 and from all regions, chose to focus on issues and policies related to youth and/or female entrepreneurship. In most cases, their findings have already been used to inform policy decisions in their home countries.

Reflecting the fundamental nature of these issues for development and inclusive growth policies, and as part of the 2017 PEP Annual Conference, PEP has invited key high-level policymakers, stakeholders, experts, and researchers to contribute to discussions on promoting youth and female entrepreneurship. During this high-level policy forum, attendees will seek to identify crucial knowledge gaps, research approaches to inform policies promoting entrepreneurship, and how to link research to policy needs and action to maximize the research impact.

Mr. Johnson Mwakazi, of the Royal Voice International, will moderate the dialogue, inviting contributions from the audience, both in the room and via PEP’s social media channels. The objective is to produce a set of conclusions and recommendations that can inform policy advocacy and initiatives, that will be published and widely circulated by PEP and its partners to maximize impact.

Download the Policy Forum and Research Forum programme.

Join the discussion and share your views

We invite you to join the discussion and share your thoughts using #PEPConf2017 on Facebook and Twitter (@PEPnetwork).

#PEPConf2017 will pull together key updates and images across all social media channels, creating a dynamic real-time dialogue between participants.


Listen live to the presentations and discussions on this page - see player below. The broadcast is available to download from PEP's Mixlr showreel.


PEP - Partnership for economic policy is on Mixlr

Event program

(Time zone: UTC+3 Nairobi, Kenya)

09:00 (UTC+3)   Welcome speeches

Representatives of the Government of Kenya, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP)

09:30 (UTC+3)   Keynote address

What works and what do we not know concerning policies for youth and female entrepreneurship?

Prof. Michael Chege, Public Policy Consultant, Kenya

Professor Chege is an exceptionally experienced development policy scholar and advisor. Currently a private consultant on public policy and the political economy of international development in Kenya, amongst his vast experience, he previously served as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) policy advisor for Kenya’s Treasury and the National Economic and Social Council, an advisory body to Kenya’s cabinet. 

Download keynote address

11:00 (UTC+3)   Policy forum

Evidence-based policy options to promote female and youth entrepreneurship 

A dialogue involving academics and policy actors to discuss issues and lessons learnt from both research and experience in implementing policy for promoting youth and female entrepreneurship as a strategy to reduce poverty and unemployment. 

Moderated by Mr. Johnson Mwakazi, The Royal Voice International


  • Dr. Abdoulaye Seck, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal (Presentation PPT)
  • Ms. Juliet Ssekandi, UNICEF, Uganda
  • Prof. Michael Chege, Public Policy Consultant, Kenya
  • Ms. Karin Fueg, Deputy Country Director, UN Women, Kenya (Talking points PDF)
13:00 (UTC+3)   Lunch break

14:30 (UTC+3)   Research forum

Gender analysis in economic policy research 

In line with PEP’s commitment to integrate stronger gender analysis in the work it supports, PEP is hosting a special session during which experts will share their views and experience related to gender analysis in development research. In particular, the session will guide researchers presenting proposals for PEP funding on integrating gender considerations into their proposed research. 

Chair: Arjan de Haan, Program Leader of Employment and Growth at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)


  • Dr. James Heintz, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA (Presentation PPT)
  • Dr. Dileni Gunewardena, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka (Presentation PPT)
  • Dr. Caroline Kabiru, African Population and Health Research Center, Inc., Kenya (Presentation PPT)

Find out more in the 2017 PEP Policy Forum concept note and program.





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