2.6 Governments’ Investment in Economic Opportunities for Rural Youth Could Stem Urban Migration

Throughout the world, young people leave their home communities in rural areas seeking education and employment opportunities in cities. Migration can take steps to provide more economic opportunities for youth and may expose youth to additional risks; they may or may not find additional opportunities in cities. High rates of urban migration tax a city’s support networks and educational institutions, meaning that many young people find overcrowded or unprepared educational infrastructures in the city. Chilangwa noted that planning in Zambia is centralized in cities, leaving rural areas without electricity, roads, and other infrastructure needed to bring products to market. Arkless again cited China’s rural policy as an interesting example. China has aggressively pursued foreign investment in rural China in order to slow explosive population growth in its coastal cities. They offer tax breaks to companies and built roads and airports in order to attract businesses and jobs to rural areas. Government investment in rural communities, or incentives to the private sector, could create the economic opportunities youth need to remain in their home communities.