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Digital Jobs Africa

Connecting Africa's rapidly growing youth population with sustainable employment opportunities

The Digital Jobs Africa initiative launched in 2013, and has successfully led to the establishment of an inclusive hiring practice known as impact sourcing, and helped scale demand-driven skills training approaches for youth. These will be advanced through the two legacy pieces—namely the Global Impact Sourcing Coalition and the Demand Driven Training Toolkit, which showcases best practices in approaches in youth skills development.

Though the initiative is now winding down, it has provided valuable lessons for great reflection on the future of our work. We are looking at how to best combine and build on the lessons from both Digital Jobs Africa and the U.S. Youth Employment initiatives to create a bigger, longer-term, and more ambitious initiative on jobs and employment, in collaboration with actors from across sectors.


Africa’s economies are growing at an unprecedented pace—and so is its youth population. Job creation is not keeping up with the youth bulge: By 2050, 400 million people under the age of 25 will be in need of sustainable employment if the continent can expect to continue along its growth trajectory.

The rise of the information communications technology (ICT) sector in Africa —as well as the adoption of business outsourcing practices that intentionally hire underemployed demographics such as youth—provide a clear opportunity to right the course.

Our Strategy

In 2013, The Rockefeller Foundation launched Digital Jobs Africa to catalyze new, sustainable employment opportunities and skills training for Africa youth, with a focus on the ICT sector. Our goal is to influence a systemic change in business practice by demonstrating the value of impact sourcing in South Africa and beyond, including placing youth in jobs in various industries, and ultimately, improve the social and economic well-being of entire families, communities, and nations.

DJA’s approach focuses on three pillars:

  • Private sector employers’ adoption of impact sourcing practices and therefore providing employment opportunities for high-potential, disadvantaged youth;
  • Private commercial demand-driven training providers and public academic institutions of higher learning adopt impact sourcing by equipping high potential, disadvantaged youth with soft skills and technical/digital skills relevant to industry needs; and
  • Governments providing enabling environments for scaling impact sourcing sustainably by allocating resources and developing the necessary policies to support the practice.

To ensure these efforts are sustained, we work in close partnership with actors from the private sector, government, civil society, and the development community.

Impact Sourcing

“Impact sourcing” is an inclusive employment practice through which companies intentionally connect high-potential, disadvantaged youth to available jobs.

Research shows that impact sourcing results in a more engaged and motivated workforce for companies, and enables them to increase their global competitiveness—all while hiring people who might otherwise have limited opportunities for work. Impact sourcing is proven to help companies optimize the performance of their business, due to proven benefits such as staff retention and cost savings, while simultaneously making a social impact.

By integrating this inclusive employment practice into their business models, companies have the opportunity to achieve business goals and targets, and at the same time highlight their commitment to the local communities in which they operate. The Rockefeller Foundation is committed to growing the impact sourcing sector by supporting businesses interested in learning, adopting, and building relationships within the sector to ultimately position impact sourcing at the forefront of innovative business models.

The Rockefeller Foundation supports a range of partner organizations to scale impact sourcing—particularly in Africa, where the Foundation sees growing youth unemployment as a challenged that can ultimately be harnessed as an opportunity for business innovation and social good.

Our partners provide skills training to high-potential, disadvantaged youth through demand driven training. They also educate companies about impact sourcing, providing tools, resources, and support to help interested businesses adopt the model under the GISC.

  • More than 150,000 youth have been trained and 455,000 connected to jobs—and counting
  • The Global Impact Sourcing Coalition was launched in 2016, with membership of 41 corporates who are showing increasing interest in adopting the practice of impact sourcing
  • We published and launched the Demand Driven Training toolkit, to help in addressing the gap between the skills that youth acquire through formal education systems, and those skills required by employers. The toolkit is of critical use to governments, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions, universities, youth training organizations focusing on skills development, as well as donor and development partners.

The Foundation supports research that showcases the business and social value of impact sourcing, and partners with government and industry to create an environment for impact sourcing to flourish in the regions in which we work.

To learn more about impact sourcing and how you can get involved, please contact impactsourcing@rockfound.org.

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