This study examines the role played by education and skills development in achieving sub-saharan Africa’s full potential. It uses household labour force surveys to look at the experience of skills development in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Tanzania. The household labour force surveys capture the skills profile of the informal sector and study how different means of skills development – including formal education, technical and vocational education and training, apprenticeships, and learning on the job — shape productivity and earnings in the informal sector as compared with the formal wage sector. It quantitatively assesses how different sources of skills development are related to the sector in which one works and the earnings received in that sector. It highlights economic constraints to skills acquisition. It delivers a comprehensive strategy for improving employment outcomes in the informal sector through skills development with examples of successful interventions taken from international experience and the five countries.