Creating employment opportunities in Africa’s agricultural sector can significantly reduce youth migration from the continent, according to José Graziano da Silva, FAO director-general.
He said this during his closing remarks at the international youth conference held in Rwanda.
“We firmly believe that if you are provided with these opportunities, you will not leave the continent to look for opportunities elsewhere. We have the means to provide those opportunities right here where you can see and participate in the future of your countries and the continent,” Graziano da Silva added.
FAO stressed the importance of establishing a youth facility, which would assist young people in addressing some of the challenges they face when setting up and expanding agricultural businesses. The facility would be piloted in Rwanda and later rolled out to the rest of Africa.
“Approximately 65 to 75 per cent of the people migrating from Africa are youth, many in search of employment opportunities. Tens of millions of jobs will have to be created each year in Africa as the continent's population continues to grow steadily. The agricultural sector including the related food systems and value chains can offer substantial entrepreneurial opportunities for the youth,” according to FAO.
Attracting more youth in the agri sector
The conference participants highlighted factors of production such as land as one of the most significant barriers for young people wanting to start or expand agricultural enterprises. This was further compounded by limited access to credit facilities for young people across the continent.
Through an eight-point communique, the youth outlined their recommended actions for immediate focus including youth-led policy action, institutionalising the youth conference (biennial), capacity development, reinforcing enabling and institutional environments, equipping rural areas with critical services essential for modern agriculture, agribusiness and value chain support, changing negative image of agriculture and supporting national youth platforms to share knowledge and best practices.
Graziano da Silva stressed the need to continue working closely with a wide range of actors to support the youth.