Transforming rural areas is key to reversing youth migration from East and Southern Africa

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Transforming rural areas is key to reversing youth migration from East and Southern Africa

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Madagascar will bring policy makers and development practitioners together 10 -13 November in Antananarivo, Madagascar, to discuss innovative approaches to transforming poor rural communities.

During the four-day workshop participants will review the implementation of IFAD-funded projects and programmes in East and Southern Africa, share development-related experiences and lessons learnt, identify challenges faced during implementation of rural development interventions and pave the way to further advance rural development and agriculture-related activities.  

The Malagasy President of Republic, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, the Minister of Agriculture, Roland Ravatomanga, IFAD Vice- President Michel Mordasini and IFAD Regional Director for the East and Southern Africa Division, Sana F.K. Jatta, will open the workshop on 10 November. More than 200 participants including representatives of IFAD-funded projects, government, development agencies, United Nations agencies, the private sector, as well as members of civil society and farmers’ organizations, are expected to attend.

Considering that today more than ever, the international community is faced with the challenge of migrants leaving their homelands for a better life abroad, the workshop will place special emphasis on raising awareness of the impact that sustainable economic activities can have in reducing migration from rural communities in Africa. When opportunities are limited or when basic survival is at risk, people, in particular young people, start to migrate from rural areas to cities or across borders in search of a better life. The workshop will explore the range of attractive employment options that will help channel the energy and creativity of young people into reviving their communities.

Sana F.K. Jatta, IFAD Regional Director for East and Southern Africa Division on the eve of the workshop said: “Investment in agriculture in Africa, in particular in East and Southern Africa must focus on creating a dynamic smallholder sector. A vibrant rural sector generates local demand for locally produced goods and services and can spur sustainable non-farm employment growth. This is crucial for rural employment, without which poor rural young people will be driven away from their communities in search of work in the cities or abroad.”

Jatta added, “To meet this challenge, forging partnerships is key for IFAD’s work. We believe that responsible private-sector in particular African private sector engagement is an essential element in optimizing economic opportunities in rural areas.”

As of June 2015, IFAD has 48 ongoing programmes and projects in 17 countries in East and Southern Africa totaling US$1,395.0 million of IFAD investments in the region’s ongoing portfolio. 

Since 1979, IFAD has financed 15 rural development programmes and projects in Madagascar for a total cost of $624.4 million with $265.5 million of its own resource benefitting directly 694,600 households.

Notes to Editors: 
Sana F.K. Jatta, Regional Director, East and Southern Africa Division of IFAD and Ghachem Kadari, Acting Country programme Manager for Madagascar, will be available for interviews during the workshop, even by phone.

Press release No.: IFAD/74/2015

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided nearly US$17 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 453 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN's food and agriculture hub.