Two things are clear: firstly, there is a need to better understand/measure how many youth-responsive ARD programmes there currently are, and how to improve them. Secondly, creating and supporting conditions under which young women and men can thrive requires joint efforts and coordinated resources. There must be strengthened collaboration with and among a range of actors (donors, farmers’ associations, cooperatives, the private sector and developing countries’ governments), enhancing south-to-south cooperation and dialogue with youth.
Many donors/IFI are already engaged with rural youth in various ways. For example, the G20 Rural Youth Employment Initiative was announced at the G20 Summit in 2017 under the German Presidency as part of its Partnership with Africa, and the Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy 2016-2025 designed by the African Development Bank in 2015, which aims to create 25 million jobs and to build the skills of 50 million youth to improve their employability or become successful entrepreneurs.
The diversity of youth and the realities they face requires us to consider that there are different pathways to rural youth employment. Some will remain in rural areas and some are moving out. While farming is not always perceived as attractive for youth, this picture changes under certain conditions. A recent survey by GIZ in Africa shows that young people may appreciate agriculture as their professional environment as long as good and fair wages, a decent working environment and enabling conditions are in place to start an economically viable agri-preneurship.
Some of the pathways considered in donor programmes include support to agri-preneurship and selfemployment within the agricultural sector. Others foster the diversification of rural incomes and access to wage (on- and off-farm) jobs, in particular for youth with no or little access to land. Including a territorial approach to youth employment can bring additional knowledge on the linkages between agricultural productivity, on-farm and off-farm employment (seasonal or permanent) in the food sector and other sectors, in rural areas, intermediary towns, peri-urban and urban spaces.
Beyond employment, the question of rural youth empowerment includes dimensions such as political and civic engagement, self-confidence and ability to make choices and be heard, as well as access to land, finance, quality education and health, just to name the few.
A compendium of engagements of the Platform membership with rural youth will be presented at the Annual General Assembly. The compendium highlights current approaches, trends and remaining questions. In parallel, young people will offer some answers on how to move forward in rural areas, e.g. with the ASEAN Young Farmers’ Declaration.