Looking for greener pastures: African youth and their future jobs
In this blog post on the INCLUDE platform, Marije Balt from Springfactor elaborates on youth moving to urban areas and explores programmes and plans of donors to invest in job creation in Africa’s largest sector, agriculture. The blog highlights a number of obstacles faced by young people wishing to engage in agriculture, such as the stigma surrounding agriculture as a lifestyle and source of livelihood, restricted access to land, irrelevant education, inability to handle risk and poor access to finance. She mentions that much of the 70% of African youth who are currently in rural areas are expected to migrate to cities in the next decades, but are unlikely to find decent jobs there. Hence, there certainly is a logic behind focusing on the food security-agriculture-employment nexus as reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The ceating of jobs of the future in rural Africa requires a comprehensive approach. Such an approach should investigate why governments have failed to create investments country-wide, address why youth have been excluded from (not only economic) opportunities and determine whether or not resources such as arable land and water for irrigation will run out in the next decade. It should also investigate if the jobs are actually out there, both in rural areas and the urban areas youth are heading to. More interventions in urban areas are needed to better integrate and transition these young city migrants for services, manufacturing or trade – which might well be in agricultural products. These interventions should draw on specific skills sets of young migrants. Such comprehensive approaches, both in rural and urban areas, in agriculture and other sectors, can help youth in Africa find decent work and stop looking for the proverbial greener pastures elsewhere, Balt concludes.