Youth and jobs in rural Africa: Beyond stylized facts

This book takes a look at the great challenge for rural Africa engendered by the growing share of young people and how youth can participate in agricultural transformation.

The book Youth and jobs in rural Africa: Beyond stylized facts was published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in December 2019. It focuses on the share of working-age young people in Africa south of the Sahara that has risen due to past declines in mortality coupled with high fertility.

This has created a sense of urgency among national governments and the international development community as the prospect of widespread youth unemployment in Africa, and the social instability and political unrest it could bring, looms closer. As a result, African governments are under pressure to create more and better jobs for the region’s young and rapidly growing population.

According to authors this “youth bulge” presents a challenge, but it may also prove to be an opportunity to advance rural development. A young and better-educated workforce could lead to greater use of more sophisticated farm technologies, commercial agricultural practices, and expansion of rural nonfarm enterprises. 

There is an increasing alignment of interests and incentives, the authors state. African governments have made youth employment a policy priority, and African youth are demanding policies that improve their job prospects. This creates promising opportunities to enact policies that effectively address rural youth employment - policies that are grounded in local evidence rather than stylized facts.

The book questions some of these stylized facts that underpin the prevailing narratives and policy debates about youth employment in rural Africa. Is Africa’s youth bulge unprecedented? Are youth more likely to adopt modern farm technologies and practices? Are youth more likely to engage in rural nonfarm activities or migrate to urban centres? Are policymakers adequately responding to the youth employment challenge, and are rural young people themselves mobilising and demanding policy reforms from their governments?

To address these and other questions, the book presents a series of thematic studies as well as country case studies (Ethiopia, Malawi, Ghana, Tanzania, and Senegal) that analyse household and firm surveys across a range of country contexts. 

(IFPRI/ile)

Read more and download the book Youth and jobs in rural Africa: Beyond stylized facts at IFPRI-Website: https://www.ifpri.org/publication/youth-and-jobs-rural-africa-beyond-stylized-facts

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