Youth ahead

Young people will be pivotal to transforming Africa’s agrifood systems, says a new report. Innovative youth policies can unlock the continent’s employment, growth and health goals.

Africa’s agrifood sector holds significant untapped potential to deliver jobs and livelihoods for the continent’s rapidly growing young population. This is the main takeaway of the report YOUTH AHEAD: Policy Innovations to Create Opportunities for Young People in Africa’s Agrifood Systems, which was published by the Malabo Montpellier Panel in April 2024.

The publication highlights how 11 million young people join the African labour market each year, yet only 3.7 million jobs are created. At the same time, the African agricultural economy is now the fastest growing of all continents, powered by a rapidly rising processing sector. The combined food and beverage markets are forecast to triple in value to USD 1 trillion by 2030.  With innovative policies, African governments can stimulate new employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young people along agribusiness value chains, while also equipping and incentivising youths to join the sector, the authors found. 

The report argues that agrifood systems provide an important channel for addressing unemployment and underemployment among African youth. Support for young people will also reduce poverty and bolster food security on the continent. 

Four systematically selected African countries – Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe – act as case studies for exploring how innovative policies and institutional reforms can shift the needle on youth empowerment in food systems.
The report also provides examples of successful and emerging interventions that are being implemented across the continent to empower youth and facilitate a thriving environment in which they can lead and engage in sustainable food systems transformation.

It identifies opportunities to unlock decent jobs and livelihoods along the agrifood value chain, from crop breeding and research and development to harvesting, processing, and trade. A key recommendation is that African governments diversify education and training programmes in order to develop and upgrade skills that facilitate entrepreneurship and employment for young Africans in agriculture and agribusiness.

Other recommendations to support African governments in empowering youth in agrifood systems include addressing trade barriers and investing in technology infrastructure for jobs, involving youth in policy formulation and decision-making, and addressing green growth and employment agendas with youth as investors.

(Malabo Montpellier Panel/ile)

Read more and download the report on the Malabo Montpellier website

News Comments

Add a comment


Name is required!

Enter valid name

Valid email is required!

Enter valid email address

Comment is required!

Google Captcha Is Required!

You have reached the limit for comments!

* These fields are required.

Be the First to Comment