World Bank Jobs Platform supports job creation and economic transformation in Southern Africa. The Jobs Platform is a sub-regional initiative in Southern Africa Community Union countries supported by the World Bank. Since 2019, the Platform has facilitated more than 12 new reforms and multiple initiatives on jobs and economic transformation in South Africa; strengthened public-private dialogue for business environment reforms in Lesotho; and launched a digital sub-regional entrepreneur community called the Innovation Bridge Portal in May 2022. The Portal currently consists of nearly 1,000 ecosystem actors and over 500 entrepreneurs have benefited from the support.
All five Southern Africa Community Union countries are currently experiencing the highest rates of unemployment, especially youth unemployment which was 34.5 percent at the beginning of 2022 in South Africa. In South Africa, the World Bank (WB) provided analytical support and shared global knowledge on monitoring and impact evaluation that helped the government establish a new monitoring and evaluation (M&E) policy framework for programs supporting MSMEs. The project also provided analytical support to carry out three firm level Business Pulse Surveys during the COVID-19 lockdown period to assess the impact of the pandemic on MSMEs. Based on the survey findings, the government adjusted its firm-level support programs to improve reach and impact. A review of 15 national public sector youth entrepreneurship support programs catalyzed policy discussions on reducing fragmentation and duplication and enhancing efficiency and impact of public support for entrepreneurship. Analytics on policy and regulatory barriers facing tech startups in South Africa informed a policy paper on a possible startup act for South Africa that is being championed by the country’s leading entrepreneurship ecosystem actors who presented the reform agenda to the country’s President.