Gunther Beger is Director-General of the Department “Policy issues of development cooperation; civil society, churches and private sector; rural development“ at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in Berlin, Germany.


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Mr Beger, the German Development Ministry put the topic of “Rural Youth Employment” on the G20 Agenda. How happy are you with the results of the Hamburg Summit?
The adoption of the G20 Initiative for Rural Youth Employment is a major political success. In Africa alone, millions of young people are seeking employment each year. It was therefore vital that the G20 agreed on the Initiative. For example, up to 2022, around five million young people are to benefit from training programmes in Africa with the support of the Initiative. This will go hand in hand with efforts to modernise agriculture. Ambitious measures have been agreed …

… which now have to be implemented. What exactly is the BMZ doing here? Which goals have you set?
Basically, we want to see political reforms, a training campaign and more investment in the agricultural sector. We are co-operating closely with our African partners, for example with the African Union and its implementing organisation, NEPAD. We are supporting them in achieving the goals the continent set itself in the “Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods” – such as the countries’ goal to invest a higher share of their national budget in the agricultural sector. It is also crucial to keep the topic on the international agenda, for example in the context of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. The Africa-EU summit in Abidjan in November will provide a good opportunity to advance the topic, too. We will also give more attention to employment in our project activities. Through the “AU Skills Initiative”, we are supporting innovative, practice-oriented approaches in vocational education in pilot countries.

Have the partner countries fully recognised the urgency of the topic?
With the “AU Youth Charter”, the African Union has brought the topic onto the political agenda.

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