The few studies dealing with internal migration in sub-Saharan Africa show that rural-rural migration flows are often even greater than rural-urban migration. A growing disinterest of young people in agriculture is often mentioned as a major reason for this high degree of mobility. Young people in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa – about 70 per cent of overall African youth currently live in rural areas – are indeed affected by an increasing access to education, media consumption and communication technologies. That certainly changes their perceptions of rural life. But it would be another fallacy to perceive the young rural population in sub-Saharan Africa as actors without agency that are just being “pushed” or “pulled” away from rural areas. These young population strata are not a homogenous group but very diverse in terms of their educational, vocational and life perspectives.

Smallholder agriculture and subsistence farming is increasingly being rejected by young people in Africa due to tedious work conditions, lacking or insufficient market access, limited land or capital access or increasingly unfavourable ecological conditions through climate change and local environmental degradation.