Youth employment challenge and rural transformation in Africa
This study (PDF) of Springer investigated youth employment challenge and rural transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa for 54 independent African countries from 2010 to 2017. The results suggest that youth employment (rural and urban) to population ratio has a great positive influence on rural transformation in African countries. However, an increase in unemployed rural population has an inverse effect on rural transformation. Youth literacy rate has an inverse relationship with youth unemployment rate. The results also suggest that an increase in employment in the agricultural sector would lead to a decline in youth unemployment rate in Africa, on the other hand, an increase in rural population would aggravate the youth unemployment rate in Africa. The new interest in young people as economic agents within Africa’s agrifood systems is to be welcomed. However, discourses, policy, and programs that construct and focus on youth-specific constraints and opportunities, and privilege entrepreneurship and imaginaries of millions of rural youth “pulling themselves up by the bootstraps” are likely to fail. They ignore structural constraints and processes and the importance of social structures as enablers and constrainers. International agricultural research should rather root its engagement with young people in an analysis of rural transformation and its dynamic interplay with rural social structures within Sub-Saharan Africa and national contexts. Empowering the youth (through actions to facilitate youth skills development and matching rural youth to jobs; facilitate rural youth access to land; improve access to affordable finance by rural youth; promote MSME development; support social protection and safety net programs; and access to social services) is developing Africa through rural transformation. This may come quickly if youth employment becomes the litmus test of Africa’s development policies.
This study is part of the book ‘The Palgrave Handbook of Agricultural and Rural Development in Africa‘.