Abstract: This introductory article of the IDS Bulletin maps out the African youth employment challenge from a policy perspective. While policymakers have endorsed the role of the private sector as a job generator, it remains unclear whether, and under what conditions, the formal private sector generates enough and decent jobs. This IDS Bulletin begins to fill that gap. Contributors address questions including: to what extent do formal private enterprises create decent, secure jobs for young people? What obstacles do young adults face when trying to access jobs in the formal private sector? What additional difficulties are present in fragile and conflict-affected settings? And, how can policies ensure the formal private sector does not reproduce and entrench insecure and vulnerable employment? The articles in this issue demonstrate the importance of effective policy measures to ensure that private sector growth creates sufficient numbers of decent, secure jobs to provide employment to African youth.