Decent Rural Employment

Reducing youth migration in Ethiopia and Tunisia


5 October 2015, Tunis - FAO and the Government of Tunisia signed a partnership agreement which aims to reduce youth mobility caused by poverty, by implementing innovative policies that will create jobs and business opportunities for young people in rural areas.

The agreement was signed by Mr. Saad Seddik, Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries, and Mr. Lamourdia Thiombiano, Coordinator of the FAO Sub Regional Office for North Africa. This signing follows the partnership agreement undersigned with the Government of Ethiopia, which was formalized on the 16th of July 2015 in Addis Ababa.

The project Youth mobility, food security and rural poverty reduction is being implemented in both countries with the support of the Italian Government. Italy has long been among FAO’s partners in addressing agricultural emergencies and rehabilitation assistance and it is one of the main voluntary contributors to FAO's budget, supporting a variety of activities to achieve food security and poverty reduction.

In both target countries, Tunisia and Ethiopia, the majority of migrants originate from rural areas. This is not surprising, given the relatively large weight of rural population and that the vast majority of the poor and food insecure live in rural areas, most dependent on agriculture. Moreover, in both countries, young women and men in rural areas are increasingly likely to migrate, seeing poor opportunities for themselves to make a living in agriculture and the rural economy. Against this background, innovative solutions are needed to make a tangible difference in addressing root causes of distress economic migration, especially among the rural youth. Promoting viable employment opportunities for youth in farm and non-farm rural activities will have to be at the centre of any intervention.

Through its technical expertise, FAO will work to strengthen the awareness and capacity of stakeholders, including governments, producers' organizations and migrant networks, to leverage migration for development. The project will also promote innovative mechanisms and partnerships to generate decent work opportunities for youth in agriculture and rural areas.

The improved evidence on rural migration trends and impacts will provide a better understanding of the dynamics that lead youth to leave their homes and seek employment elsewhere. Such knowledge will help policy-makers design coherent development policies in order to increase employment, making rural areas more attractive to young people.

At global level, lessons learned drawn during the project implementation will inform international debates on economic mobility and will be used for replication and scaling-up. Through global cooperation mechanisms, such as the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development and the Global Migration Group, the project will improve the understanding of the root causes of youth distress migration, looking also at how structural transformation processes in agriculture and rural areas influence migration patterns.

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