Decent Rural Employment

Mauritania: National Youth Consultation on challenges and opportunities for rural youth employment and resilience


Within  the framework of the project Building Resilience in the Sahel Region through Job Creation for Youth, the 28 and 29 October 2021 marked the launch of the first National Youth Consultation organized in Mauritania.

The project started at the end of 2020 and is implemented by FAO, with funding from the Federal Government of Germany, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). One of its main objectives is to support the youth that still face limited access to decent rural employment opportunities.

Mauritania’s rapidly growing population faces major challenges, including food insecurity, malnutrition, gender inequality and land degradation. Forty-one per cent of the population lives in rural areas, and half depend on agriculture for their income. Youth between the ages of 15 and 35 represent 40 percent of the total population and are particularly vulnerable to high social exclusion. Strengthening decent youth employment opportunities is therefore at the heart of breaking the cycle of poverty and boosting social inclusion in the country.

The National Youth Consultation, organized by FAO in partnership with the Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale (IPAR) and with the support of the Mauritanian Government, gathered 31 young women and men from different regions and constituencies as well as more than 20 representatives of the Mauritanian Government, WFP, ILO, UNDP, GIZ, Enabel, GRET, and experts on youth issues in Mauritania and the G5 Sahel countries.

The event provided a platform to carry out an intergenerational dialogue focused on the challenges that the rural Mauritanian youth face in trying to earn a livelihood, as well as their aspirations and suggested solutions. The consultation also allowed participants to exchange information on how agricultural projects (aquaculture, livestock, agri-tech, and rural financing), when designed jointly with youth and not only ‘’for’’ them, can facilitate the prevention of  extremism, radicalization, and overall negative coping mechanisms, by promoting peace and social cohesion.

Four central themes were debated during the consultation:

  • Challenges and opportunities related to the empowerment and socio-professional integration of rural youth in the agri-food sector;
  • The importance of information systems , such as structured and widespread employment offices, providing information about labour market demand and opportunities;
  • Youth involvement in emergency plans, peace building, social protection and security interventions;
  • The role of rural youth in the design and implementation of inclusive policies and programmes that promote green jobs for youth and positively impact the prevention of youth radicalization and overall negative coping mechanisms. 

Participants have highlighted the need to set up a technical advisory group to hold regular consultations that would allow a systematic support to youth enterprises in accessing timely information and funds.

Furthermore, it was also stressed the necessity to develop a specific youth action plan as well as a knowledge exchange platform in the country.

The National Youth Consultation is part of a series of activities conducted in the framework of the overall project ‘’Building Resilience in the Sahel Region through Job Creation for Youth’’, focused on promoting youth-led solutions to foster decent rural employment and build resilience among youth, while bridging the humanitarian, development and peace nexus in Mauritania and also in the G5 Sahel countries at large.