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Today, the global youth population is at its highest ever and still growing, with the highest proportion of youth living in Africa and Asia, and a majority of them in rural areas. Young people in rural areas face the double challenge of age-specific vulnerabilities and underdevelopment of rural areas. While agriculture absorbs the majority of rural workers in developing countries, low pay and poor working conditions make it difficult to sustain rural livelihoods. Potential job opportunities for rural youth exist in agriculture and along the agro-food value chain, however. Growing populations, urbanisation and rising incomes of the working class are increasing demand for more diverse and higher value added agricultural and food products in Africa and developing Asia. This demand will create a need for off-farm labour, especially in agribusinesses, which tend to be better paid and located in rural areas and secondary towns. It could boost job creation in the food economy provided that local food systems were mobilised to take up the challenge of higher and changing domestic demand for food.
The study, co-financed by the EU, looks in-depth at the current employment situation of youth in the food economy in 5 sub-Saharan African countries (Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) and 2 Southeast Asian countries (Thailand and Viet Nam) and makes an employment forecast for 2030 of the different segments within the food economy. The study reviews local food production and distribution models commonly found in more advanced economies, which try to reconcile economic, social and environmental objectives. The event will be an opportunity to share the key findings from this study and discuss policy implications.
Deputy Head of Unit, Sustainable Agri-Food Systems and Fisheries, INTPA F3
Head of Social Cohesion Unit, OECD Development Centre
Senior Policy Analyst, Social Cohesion Unit, OECD Development Centre