While Ethiopia is one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies and has seen significant declines in poverty levels over the past decade, high rates of multidimensional poverty persist. The effects on adolescents are particularly significant, including a high likelihood of involvement in child labour (Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI),2017). There is a growing evidence base on young people’s access to economic empowerment opportunities and the challenges of youth unemployment and under-employment, but this often overlooks gender dynamics, urban/rural differentials and the experiences of adolescents and especially very young adolescents who are excluded from labour statistics (Presler-Marshall and Stavropoulou, 2017).
This report on adolescent economic empowerment in Ethiopia seeks to contribute to these knowledge gaps. It is one of a series of reports presenting findings from baseline mixed-methods research as part of the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) longitudinal study (2015–2024). We focus on: adolescents’ economic aspirations and the aspirations of parents for their adolescent children; the extent to which adolescents are able to acquire market-appropriate skills and access assets and resources needed for future economic empowerment; the availability of decent and age-appropriate employment; and access to age- and gender-responsive social protection. We pay particular attention to gender, regional and rural and urban differences, as well as differences between adolescents with disabilities and those without. We also discuss the change strategies currently being implemented to fast-track social change, as well as related gaps in the policy and programming landscape.