The panellists discussing the potential for job creation for the youth und rural Africa.
Photo: © Stephen Cox


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The BMZ’s strong policy focus on rural development is generating a number of concrete initiatives. Linked to the kick-off workshop of the “Rural Future Lab”, some hundred people, including – most importantly – a group of young entrepreneurs from right across Africa, came together in Bonn for a panel discussion on 27 March.

Gunther Beger, head of the policy directorate at the German Federal Ministry for Development and Cooperation (BMZ), set the context of the evening’s topic, “Jobs, jobs, jobs – Innovation and young entrepreneurship in rural Africa”. Despite the explosion of megacities, Africa was, he pointed out, still a largely rural continent. And the future of humankind would be decided in rural areas. Rural communities had, Beger said, too often become globalisation losers, lagging behind in terms of the services and opportunities available in urban life. The challenge for Africa – where the average age is just eighteen – was to make the rural economy a place of opportunity for the young.

With an additional half a billion young people entering the African labour market between now and 2030, a productive and sustainable agro-food sector is key not only to eradicating hunger but also to halting the rural exodus. “Hunger is rural and female,” Beger noted.

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