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Shaping the rural economies of tomorrow

Our world is home to 1.2 billion young people between the ages of 15 and 24, and the youth population is growing fastest in the poorest nations. Governments around the world face the challenge of providing young people with jobs and opportunities that safeguard their futures.

In rural areas, home to a total of 600 million youth, the challenges are particularly complex. Constraints on access to land, natural resources, finance, technology, knowledge, information and education make it difficult for young people to contribute to the rural economy.

Few aspire to remain in rural areas and make a living out of agriculture. Too often, their only option is to migrate, either to urban areas or overseas.

Young producers, leaders and innovators

At IFAD, we understand that investing in rural youth is crucial for dynamic rural economic growth, and our portfolio of investments increasingly focuses on young people as a priority.

The potential returns of investing in young people are boundless in terms of food security, poverty reduction, employment generation, as well as peace and political stability.

Young people are better at taking risks, innovating and adopting new technology. These skills will be critical for reforming food systems and  adapting to the global challenge of climate change.

Bringing young voices to the table

IFAD-supported projects and activities help young people access the resources, assets and services they need to be productive and have a positive impact on their communities.

We promote youth-sensitive development, incorporating the needs and aspirations of young people into many of our projects, and supporting innovative proposals and initiatives.

We also provide training and support to create rural employment and enterprise options that are appropriate for young people, in both the farm and the non-farm sector.

IFAD is also committed to increasing youth representation in domestic and policy processes, and to promoting the importance of giving young people a decision-making role.

This will allow young people to address the specific challenges they face, share their ideas, and enhance their social and political capital at both local and national levels.

Spotlight

No place like home: Moldovan youth bring business to the countryside

Moldova’s agriculture sector is increasingly developing and modernizing. This is due both to an increased presence in lucrative markets like the European Union and to the efforts deployed by IFAD and the Government of Moldova to help restructure the sector, largely through sustained investments and financial support to small-scale farmers, to accompany this modernization.

Projects

Ghana

Ghana Agriculture Sector Investment Programme (GASIP)
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Bolivia (Plurinational State of)

Economic Inclusion Programme for Families and Rural Communities in the Territory of the Plurinational State of Bolivia (ACCESOS)
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Cameroon

Youth Agropastoral Entrepreneurship Promotion Programme
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Related news

The Rural Youth Innovation Award honours young people who care about biodiversity, market access and the preservation of traditions

July 2020 - NEWS

Rossana Polastri, Director of the Latin America and the Caribbean Division of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has announced the winners of the Rural Youth Innovation Award. This prize has been created by IFAD to strengthen and build the capacities of young people and to promote opportunities being created by young people who are already changing the rural landscape of the region. 

El FIDA invita a los jóvenes de América Latina y el Caribe a postular al Premio a la Innovación Juvenil Rural

March 2020 - NEWS
El FIDA ha lanzado el Premio a la Innovación Juvenil Rural el cual busca impulsar y fortalecer las capacidades de los jóvenes rurales de América Latina y el Caribe y promover las oportunidades generadas por jóvenes que ya están cambiando el mundo rural en la región. 

World leaders and celebrities call for greater investment to end hunger and poverty

February 2020 - NEWS
Heads of state, ministers, development leaders, and celebrities today called for greater investment in rural areas to accelerate progress to achieve a world free from poverty and hunger in the next 10 years.

Related publications

The future of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa

August 2020
Population growth, rapid urbanization, and a young population are major trends shaping the future of African agriculture.

Mainstreaming youth in IFAD operations: A practitioner’s guide

July 2020
This report offers practical guidance on how IFAD can support the engagement of marginalized young people, paying specific attention to their diverse and complex needs and addressing the real causes of their discrimination.

Research Series Issue 61: The narrative on rural youth and economic opportunities in Africa: facts, myths and gaps

December 2019
This paper reviews the narrative on rural youth and economic opportunities in Africa, using a set of policy documents from various African countries and regional and international organizations. 

Related documents

IFAD Action Plan - Rural Youth

Tags: YOUTH
Type: Policies and Strategies, Strategy