Decent Rural Employment

Youth mobility, food security and rural poverty reduction

Fostering rural diversification through enhanced youth employment and better labour mobility

One-third of all international migrants are aged 15-34 (UNDESA, 2017). Across Africa, the majority of young migrants originate from rural areas. Rural young women and men are increasingly migrating due to limited opportunities and poor infrastructure and services. Finding gainful employment in agricultural sectors is hampered by low productivity, poor access to markets and lack of dynamism between farm and non-farm activities. Young people often lack access to land, credit, and inputs to start their own business.

Promoting viable employment opportunities for youth in farm and non-farm rural activities is key to address the adverse drivers of migration and promote sustainable livelihoods alternatives in rural areas to make migration a choice and not a necessity.

The role of FAO:

To respond to this challenge, from 2015 till 2018, FAO implemented the project "Youth mobility, food security and rural poverty reduction" in Tunisia and Ethiopia, with the support of the Italian Development Cooperation. The project has contributed to address the main drivers of rural youth migration by promoting employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in agriculture.

In particular, the project contributed to: 

  • Generate knowledge and increase awareness at national and global levels on the drivers and impacts of rural youth migration on food security and rural livelihoods.

  • Strengthen capacities of national stakeholders to promote innovative mechanisms for rural youth employment and enhance the positive impacts of rural migration in areas of origin.

  • Provide policy support to strengthen policy and programmatic coherence between migration and rural development. In Tunisia, the project supported the integration of rural development in the thematic working groups established for the operationalization of the National Strategy on Migration. In Ethiopia, it contributed to the development of the National Rural Job Opportunity Creation Strategy.

  • Pilot innovative mechanisms for the promotion of rural employment opportunities by providing selected small and medium agro-enterprises with training, tailored coaching and in-kind support. These mechanisms allowed to support 49 agro-enterprises in Tunisia and 38 youth groups in Ethiopia, resulting in the creation of 89 full-time direct jobs and 83 direct occasional jobs in Tunisia and 454 jobs in Ethiopia.

  • Enhance diaspora contribution to rural development by fostering diaspora investments to agricultural enterprises.