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The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) is a South African-based agency established primarily to tackle challenges that the nation’s youth are faced with. The NYDA was established by an Act of parliament, Act no 54 of 2008. The institution was established to be a single, unitary structure, established to address youth development issues at National, Provincial and Local government level.
The existence of the NYDA should be located within the broad context of South Africa’s development dynamics. Like many developing countries, South Africa has a large population of youth, those between the ages 14-35 represent 42% of the total population. Given the youthful nature of the South African population much of the socio-economic challenges faced by the nation, i.e. poverty, inequality and joblessness, poor health, etc., are borne by the youth. The gravity of challenges South Africa is faced with, require multi-pronged efforts, that simultaneously promote the development of sustainable livelihoods, reduce poverty, inequality and prioritise the development of policies which create an enabling environment for youth development.
The NYDA plays a leading role in ensuring that all major stakeholder’s, i.e. government, the private sector and civil society, prioritise youth development and contribute towards identifying and implementing lasting solutions which address youth development challenges.
Furthermore, the NYDA designs and implements programmes aimed at improving the lives and opportunities available to youth. These programmes could be clustered as follows:
At an individual level (Micro level), the NYDA provides direct services to youth in the form of information-provision, career guidance services, mentorship, skills development and training, entrepreneurial development and support, health awareness programmes and involvement in sport.
At a Community level (Meso Level), the NYDA encourages young people to be catalysts for change in their communities through involvement in community development activities, social cohesion activities, national youth service programmes and dialogues.
At a Provincial and National level (Macro Level), through its policy development, partnerships and research programmes, the NYDA facilitates the participation of youth in developing key policy inputs which shape the socio-economic landscape of South Africa.
The National Youth Development Agency derives its mandate from legislative frameworks such as the NYDA Act (54 of 2008), the National Youth Policy (2009-2014) and the draft Integrated Youth Development Strategy as adopted by the Youth Convention of 2006.
The NYDA activities could be summarised as follows:
a) Lobby and advocate for integration and mainstreaming of youth development in all spheres of government, private sector and civil society
b) Initiate, implement, facilitate and co-ordinate youth development programmes
c) Monitor and evaluate youth development interventions across the board and Mobilise youth for active participation in civil society engagements
A credible, capable and activist development agency that is responsive to the plight of South Africa’s youth
       To Mainstream youth issues into society
       To facilitate youth development with all sectors of society
       Integrity and Honesty
       Respect and Humility
NYDA’s New Focus
The National Youth Development Agency has shifted its core business primarily away from Enterprise Finance towards Education and Skills Development. The fundamental change in this area of development is the change from loan provision to grant provision for young entrepreneurs. The NYDA no longer offers loan finance to young entrepreneurs, but instead grant finance in the form of micro-finance grants for survivalist youth entrepreneurship and co-operative grants for greater participation of youth in the co-operatives sector.
The objective of the Grant Programme is to provide young entrepreneurs an opportunity to access both the financial and non-financial business development support to establish their survivalist businesses. The programme focusses on youth entrepreneurs who are just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential but are not yet fully developed. The grant finance starts from R1 000 to a maximum of R200 000 for any individual or youth co-operative. For agriculture and technology-related projects, the maximum threshold is R250 000. 
The new plan of the NYDA therefore focusses on tailor-made interventions for job preparedness and placement, a focus on scholarship provision for those who excel in schools, the scaling up of the YouthBuild Programme for out-of-school youth, the increase of second chance opportunities for matriculants and the intensification of our highly successful career guidance programme. The NYDA continues with efforts directed at economic participation offering a range of products, programmes and services to young entrepreneurs in need, albeit as a secondary focus.
NYDA Key Performance Areas
KEY PERFORMANCE AREA 1- Economic Participation:
The main goal of the economic participation is to enhance the participation of young people in the economy through targeted and integrated programmes. Programmes implemented by the NYDA aim to facilitate and provide employment opportunities for young people; to enhance the participation of young people in the economy, geared at increasing job creation, entrepreneurship participation and skills development and to provide business support.
Implementation is at the following strategic objectives:
  • To provide Socio-economic empowerment interventions and support for young people in South Africa.
  • To provide increased universal access to young people
KEY PERFORMANCE AREA 2 – Education and Skills Development:
The main goal of the Education and Skills Development programme is to promote, facilitate and provide education and skills development opportunities to young people and to enhance their socio-economic well-being, with the objective of facilitating education opportunities and community participation activism. To engage young people in Service activities geared towards fostering patriotism. The aim is to improve access to quality education, to facilitate and implement skills development programmes and offer scholarships assistance and aid in young people participating for social cohesion and national building. 
Implementation is at the following strategic objectives:
  • To facilitate and implement skills programmes
  • To facilitate and implement education opportunities in order to improve the quality education attainment for the youth
  • To engage young people in service activities geared towards fostering patriotism, social cohesion and nation building.
KEY PERFORMANCE AREA 3 – Research and Policy
The main goal of this key programme area is to create a body of knowledge and best practice in the youth development sectors and to inform and influence policy development planning and implementation. The fundamental aim of this area is to ensure that knowledge that inform and drive youth development is developed based on facts that are relevant to the developmental needs of the South African youth, as well as giving South Africa a competitive edge.
Implementation is at the following strategic objectives:
  • To create and produce information and knowledge for better development planning and decision making
  • To lobby key stakeholders to support and implement youth development programmes
To mobilise and leverage financial resources from key stakeholders.
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