#72 Rural Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship for Food and Nutrition Security

From the G20-Summit to the EU-Africa Summit

Organizers

  • EU Commission - DEVCO
  • German  Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) - Germany        

Abstract

Today’s generation of youth is the largest the world has ever known, but attractive employment opportunities for young people are often limited in rural areas. Rural communities lose energetic workforce with innovative ideas and entrepreneurial potential. At the same time, agricultural production needs to increase by 60% to feed a growing world population by 2050. The side event will review current challenges and opportunities for young women and men in rural Africa, and discuss approaches for promoting rural youth employment and entrepreneurship. Participants will discuss options of how rural youth can better be enabled to contribute to rural development, notably rural income opportunities, and to feed the planet’s growing population while protecting the environment. It thereby relates to both the availability and access dimensions of food security.  As an introduction, it will provide a general overview on the topic “Rural Youth Employment”. Particular attention will be given to successful examples of youth entrepreneurship in rural Africa and its prerequisites. The event will consider the momentum for rural youth employment related to the G20 Summit (July 2017 in Hamburg) and EU-Africa Summit (November 2017 in Abijan). The theme of employment creation in food systems will run throughout the event.  

Key speakers/presenters

  • Stefan Schmitz, Commissioner of the “ONE World No Hunger Initiative”, German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  • Madeleine Onclin, Head of Sector Nutrition, Unit for Rural Development, Food Security and Nutrition, DG DEVCO, EU Commission
  • Halatou Dem, young agricultural entrepreneur, CEO Danaya Céréales SARL (a family-owned company in Bamako, Mali for the processing of grain and rice, focusing on Fonio (a local millet species)
  • Godfrey Bahiigwa, Director of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA), AU Commission
  • Rui Benfica, Lead Economist, Research and Impact Assessment Division, IFAD
  • Facilitator:  Brave Ndisale, Strategic Programme Leader for the programme 'Hunger   Eradication, Food security and Nutrition', FAO

Summary

Rural Youth Employment;  Food Security and Nutrition;  Youth Entrepreneurship;  Policy Design and Implementation

Today’s generation of youth is the largest the world has ever known, but attractive employment opportunities for young people in rural areas are often limited. Rural communities lose energetic workforce with innovative ideas and entrepreneurial potential. At the same time, agricultural production needs to increase by 60% to feed a growing world population by 2050.

The side event reviewed current challenges and opportunities for young women and men in rural Africa, and discussed approaches for promoting rural youth employment and entrepreneurship. Panelists and the audience agreed that young people in rural areas have the potential to become “leaders of change” for inclusive rural transformation: Investing in young people generates significant social and economic returns and can transform the “youth bulge” into a “demographic dividend”. However, political reforms as well as investments in modern infrastructure, education and vocational training and access to finance are necessary in order to create an environment that supports entrepreneurship in rural areas and that makes agriculture a more attractive choice for young women and men.

Coordination and policy coherence as well as partnerships and alignment with African-driven programmes and strategies can further contribute to bridging the gap between rural transformation, urbanization and the demand for employment and income opportunities, in particular for rural youth. For example, the “G20 Initiative for Rural Youth Employment”, adopted by G20 Leaders at their Hamburg Summit in July 2017, provides many interlinkages for complementary actions to be proposed at the upcoming Africa-EU Summit in November 2017, to be held under the theme "Investing in Youth".

Key outcomes/take away messages

  • There are 1.2 billion young people in the world with an overall unemployment rate of 30%. Most youth live in rural areas in low and middle-income countries where agriculture is still the biggest provider of jobs and income opportunities for young rural women and men.
  • Investments along the agricultural value chains, especially in off-farm activities, have the biggest potential to create jobs and income opportunities for rural youth. However, the sector has to become more attractive to young people, i.a. by investing in rural infrastructure and improving the rural business climate for private sector development.
  • The spectrum of action areas in the food system to deliver better quality jobs ranges from (i) raising incomes; (ii) improving the stability of jobs; and (iii) improving working conditions. New technologies and the use of mechanization are shaping how value chains are organized and therefore offer new job opportunities for young women and men.
  • Enhanced coordination, effective partnerships and strong alignment with African strategies and programmes is crucial for Rural Youth Employment. Partnerships should engage youth, private sector, civil society, governments and partners on equal level, ensuring both ownership and sustainability of joint efforts.

Further documents

The final version of the “G20 Initiative for Rural Youth Employment is available for download at www.bmz.de/en/service/feature/g20/food_security.

The synthesis study on Rural Youth Employment by World Bank and IFAD is available for download at www.bmz.de/de/zentrales_downloadarchiv/g20/Rural_Youth_Employment_-_WB-IFAD-Synthesis_Study_DWG.pdf.

The French version can be downloaded at www.bmz.de/de/zentrales_downloadarchiv/g20/Rural_Youth_Employment_-_WB-IFAD-Synthesis_Study_DWG_FR.pdf.

The presentation by Rui Benfica (IFAD) is available for download at www.donorplatform.org/news-agenda-2030/rural-youth-employment-bridging-the-gap-between-transformation-and-urbanisation.html?file=files/content/Media/Agenda_2030/Latest/171009_CFS%20rural%20youth/CFS%20Presentation_Rural%20Youth_Rui%20Benfica_Final_Version.pdf

Side Event - 72 - Rural Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship for Food and Nutrition Security