Investing in rural youth in the Near East, North Africa, Europe and Central Asia
This study (PDF) by IFAD reviews the opportunities and challenges facing rural youth in the Near East, North Africa, Europe and Central Asia (NEN) region and suggests a number of programmes and policy priorities that governments can take into consideration. Countries of the NEN region face a myriad of social, economic and political challenges that have stalled their structural and rural transformation processes. The region has the highest youth unemployment rates in the world. Weak education systems are failing to provide youth, especially in rural areas, with the skills they need to compete in a global economy. Rural youth face dwindling opportunities in both the farm and non-farm sectors. The resulting high rates of joblessness, unemployment and informal work have encouraged rural youth to migrate to urban areas and abroad in search of better opportunities. Arguably, the most important issue facing rural youth in the NEN region today is weak job creation. In the context of healthy structural and rural transformation processes, new jobs must be created in order to absorb labour released from agricultural activities. The agricultural business climate remains uncompetitive. This is a problem given that the NEN region is among the most water-scarce in the world and will be adversely affected by global warming. Many countries of the NEN region have introduced national youth policies or strategies that provide an integrated framework for addressing youth issues. Most of these cover agriculture and rural areas.