New guidelines for scaling up investments for and with youth in agrifood systems in Africa have been released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the African Union Commission (AUC).
This was announced during the 32nd FAO Regional Conference for Africa in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
Throughout all phases of the investment programme cycle, the Investment Guidelines for Youth in Agrifood Systems in Africa gives practical “how to” guidelines for developing youth-focused and youth-sensitive investment programmes that regard youth as participants in rural development.
Governments, financial and technical partners, the commercial sector, civil society, and young women and men themselves are all encouraged to use the recommendations when creating and implementing agrifood investment programmes.
“These guidelines are timely, and we need you to take ownership. We need localised ownership,” FAO director-general Qu Dongyu said at the launch.
Unemployed and extremely poor
Africa as a region has the highest percentage of youth in the world, estimated at 420 million people between the ages of 15 and 35. This is an enormous resource for future prosperity, but the challenges these young people face are many.
According to Dongyu, young people are twice as likely as adults to be unemployed.
“The majority of working youth are poor and employed in vulnerable, low-quality jobs in the informal sector. In 2019, almost two-thirds (63%) of young workers lived in poverty in Africa compared to half (51%) of adults. Youth are also overrepresented among the extremely poor.
“On top of this, young women, especially in rural areas, face gender-biased social norms, laws and practices that limit their involvement in gainful work and seizing development opportunities,” Dongyu said.
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