The European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM)
As agriculture is one of the most promising sectors in most fragile and conflict-affected environments, this article explores some of the key challenges and obstacles agricultural value chain development poses for youth employment.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Youth employment should be at the center of any strategy to face economic and demographic challenges in Africa, the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization José Graziano da Silva told a joint African Union-European Union meeting, hosted at FAO headquarters in Rome.
While the narrative around agriculture in Africa can invoke a story of back-breaking labor and subsistence, with agriculture seen as a last resort option for poor, there is a much different story to cultivate. Investing in agriculture growth is 11 times more effective for overall economic growth when compared to other sectors such as mining, utilities, and services. In fact, estimates project that African agriculture and agribusiness could be worth $1 trillion by 2030.
Creating lasting change in developing communities means creating change for those communities’ young people. They will be the torchbearers of the practices put in place today, and are the future innovators for these nascent economies. Engaging youth in productive activities also has a positive impact beyond the economic sector, as youth employment can positively affect social and political stability around the globe.
We are living in a world where temperatures are rising, water shortages are more frequent, food supplies are increasingly scarce and the gap between rich and poor is increasing. Populations are growing fast, making basic hygiene and sanitation even more of a challenge.
The demographic dividend has been touted as a potential source of growth for the African continent and its relatively young population. In the same vein, it comes with the challenge of employment creation that can absorb the large cohort of youth that is set to enter sub-Saharan
Africa’s labor markets in the approaching decades. Less positively, however, countries that fail to plan accordingly might miss these potential opportunities or the resulting youth bulge could increase the risk of social tension and other risks arising from high youth unemployment rates.
Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CTA)
The role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in strengthening and promoting agricultural enterprises has never been greater.Furthermore, governments, private sector, multi-lateral and non-governmental organisations (NGO), and especially young people, are increasingly viewing the intersection of ICTs and the agriculture sector as a prime means of tackling the global youth unemployment challenge by enabling enterprise.
Africa’s rise has not taken its young people along with it. Economies riding the resource boom of the last decade are coming back down with a thud, exposing that the steep rise in GDPs that lent itself to the “Africa rising” narrative did little for the continent’s youth. The youth bulge that was supposed to energize the continent’s resurgence is increasingly looking like a threat.