Young People, Agriculture, and Transformation in Rural Africa: An “Opportunity Space” Approach

James Sumberg and Christine Okali
Institute of Development Studies
Resource Type: 
Publication Date: 
Sep 10, 2013

In this essay we argue that entrepreneurship-based policy and programmes to address the jobs challenge facing young people in rural Africa need to be much more firmly grounded. Specifically, in terms of expectations, design and implementation they must take explicit account of the highly diverse and changing rural and social realities within which young people both find themselves and help to fashion. We will develop this argument through an exploration of the notion of “opportunity space”, and demonstrate the benefit of putting an appreciation of social difference and social relations at centre stage.

James Sumberg is a Fellow of the Knowledge, Technology, and Society Team at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, England. He has a longstanding research interest in African agriculture and is the co-convenor of the Future Agriculture Consortium’s work on young people, agriculture, and food in Africa. 
Christine Okali coordinates the gender and social difference theme of the Future Agricultures Consortium at the Institute of Development Studies. She has studied agrarian change and gender over four decades, with a particular focus on West Africa. 
Workforce Development
Enterprise Development
Monitoring & Evaluation
Sub-Saharan Africa
Agriculture & Food Security
Community Development
Economic Empowerment
Market Development
Rural Development