Decent Rural Employment

Senegal: A rural youth employment policy champion


Thanks to the Integrated Country Approach (ICA) for promoting decent rural youth employment, Senegal will be among the first African countries to adopt a specific National Rural Youth Employment Policy.

In line with the Plan Sénégal Émergent, the main medium to long term social and economic policy in the country, the Rural Youth Employment Policy bases itself on four main pillars: (i) economic stimulus for job creation; (ii) investment in human capital; (iii) strengthen rural youth participation in policy and decision-making in the country; and, (iv) streamlining the governance framework for effective action towards rural youth employment creation. The final goal is to guide the support to create from 100,000 to 150,000 jobs per year.

ICA is supporting the development of the Policy following the request of the Ministère de la Jeunesse, de l'Emploi et de la Construction Citoyenne. In this context, in March 2015 an inclusive national policy dialogue on youth employment was successfully facilitated by FAO and the Agence Nationale pour la Promotion de l’Emploi des Jeunes (ANPEJ), in collaboration with the think tank Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale (IPAR), to gather recommendations from Government, private sector, development partners, civil society and youth representatives. As a result, a multi stakeholder Comité de pilotage has been formally established in 2016 by a decree of the Prime Minister to support the formulation of the National Rural Youth Employment Policy.

The Comité is chaired and facilitated by ANPEJ. Other members include representatives of the Prime Minister, Ministries of Youth, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock, Labour, Education and Vocational Education, Industry, Local Development, Commerce and Women, as well as the National Youth Council and young producers groups such as the College des jeunes of the Conseil national de concertation et de coopération des ruraux (CNCR). FAO is part of the observers in the Comité and plays the main technical support role in the development of the policy.

The strength of the policy formulation process consists in the inclusiveness and representativeness of the organizations and entities associated. A draft of the policy will be discussed in the first half of 2016 and then go through policy validation via the Council of Ministers. 

Once the policy is validated, the Comité de pilotage will play a key role in the development of the correspondent implementation strategy. Meanwhile, several activities are already being implemented. Following the analysis of existing approaches for decent rural youth employment, technical exchanges and partnerships have been fostered in the country through the establishment of thematic working groups on green jobs, youth in agri-food value chains, young women empowerment and child labour prevention.

Promoting Innovation

Several events have been already organized as part of ICA's efforts to promote youth employment opportunities and increase knowledge about the differentiated needs of rural youth.

For instance, during the Global Entrepreneurship Week (16 to 22 November 2015), FAO, ANPEJ and Jokkolabs organized the Forum sur l'Emploi Décent (FORED), a full day on rural youth employment and entrepreneurship in Dakar. Participants invited Senegalese youth to change paradigms and not to consider any longer the agricultural profession as a circumstance trade for the lack of something better. They also highlighted the need to structurally transform the economy through a modern and mechanized agriculture where the creativity of young Senegalese man and women will be exploited fully and in a sustainable way.

"Nowadays, FAO is on the forefront of the policy debate on how to sustainably engage the youth in the agricultural sector and food systems, as shown by its direct support to the development of the National Rural Youth Employment Policy" said Vincent Martin, FAOR in Senegal, during the event. "Initiatives and partnerships like the one with Jokkolabs spur real innovation in the way to promote rural youth entrepreneurship, especially in the food systems."

Furthermore, from 8 to 10 December 2015, FAO and the International Training Centre of ILO (ITC-ILO) jointly organized in Dakar the workshop Transforming child labour into decent employment opportunities for youth in rural areas. A concrete plan of activities has been adopted by the country and is being implemented, with the technical support of FAO and ITC-ILO. The plan serves ICA’s efforts to generate policy change to foster youth employment and entrepreneurship in agriculture.

Also, in April 2016 a first round of Road Shows was jointly organized by FAO and ANPEJ in the Ziguinchor region to highlight policies and initiatives in the field of rural youth employment.