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Farming and rural non-farm activities can provide solutions to rising youth unemployment in Africa

Although ten to 12 million young people join the labor force in Africa each year, only around three million jobs are created annually.


Farming and rural non-farm-based activities still have untapped potential to generate employment opportunities for Africa’s rising youth population, FAO stressed today at a high level forum - Harnessing Skills for Rural Transformation and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals - held at the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.

Africa has the youngest population and the fastest growing population in the world, predicted to double by 2050. This has a major impact on the employment market. The agricultural sector, as well as rural non-farm activities in tourism, agro-industries, food storage and transportation have great potential to create more and better jobs, and to build stronger rural communities.

“Investing in rural transformation and reaching a world free of hunger and malnutrition go hand in hand. Promoting better education, skills development and decent employment is vital for this transformation in Africa,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, who is part of a group of world leaders at the high level forum, sharing experiences and best practice in creating and expanding employment and economic opportunities for Africa’s youth.

FAO carries out 32 youth employment projects in 20 African countries. It supports countries and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to enhance their youth policies, strategies and plans, and social protection measures.

It trains vulnerable rural youth not only in agricultural techniques but also provides them with business and life skills so that they can become more productive and active members of their communities.

The Organization recently launched a Special Programme to promote youth employment through enabling agriculture and agri-business jobs in Africa. The programme is another example of FAO’s long-lasting collaboration with the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) — an economic development program of the African Union — and of FAO’s efforts to strengthen partnerships.

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