Youth and young people are becoming a hot topic among development donors and actors. But who exactly do these "labels" apply to, and are they too broad for effective policies? Or do they create too narrow a focus which is blind to larger structural issues?
To continue to feed a growing world population, we need to increase global food production. This appears though at odds with a number of seemingly insurmountable environmental and socio-economic challenges. This is particularly true for Africa, a region hit most strongly by climate change and yield gaps against a backdrop of poverty, migration and conflicts.
The Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth (DJ4Y) was recently launched in New York, under the auspices of the ECOSOC Youth Forum 2016, with more than twenty Ministers of Youth and over 500 youth delegates in attendance.
Rural youth are the future of food security. Yet around the world, few young people see a future for themselves in agriculture or rural areas. Rural youth face many hurdles in trying to earn a livelihood. Pressure on arable land is high in many parts of the world, making it difficult to start a farm.
According to a recent survey by the Institute of Economic Affairs, young people under the age of 34 make up 78.3 percent of the Kenyan population. Farm Africa’s Youth Empowerment in Sustainable Agriculture (YESA) project is working to build young people’s interest in agricultural enterprises.
Agriculture is not glamorous. It suffers from entrenched negative perceptions. In the minds of many African youths, a farmer is someone like their parents, doing backbreaking labour in the fields and getting little to show for it. Nonetheless, agriculture is the engine driving many African economies.
In Africa over 200 million people are aged between 15 and 24, the youngest population in the world. This age group according to the African Economic Outlooks is expected to double in number by 2045.
Presented by Jim Sumberg - Institute of Development Studies – IDS. University of Sussex, UK - at Agri4D 2015