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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

More than 100 million young adults are still living in extreme poverty

In recent years, the concerns and worldviews of young adults have been increasingly occupying center stage in global debates. And they should.
Tags: YOUTH

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

Call for proposals: Grant to implement inclusive red meat value chains for women and youth farmers in Eastern and Southern Africa

September 2019 - NEWS
This call for proposals is to select a recipient or consortium of recipients to receive a three-year IFAD grant financing to implement the project: Inclusive red meat value chains for women and youth farmers in Eastern and Southern Africa for a total amount of up to US$2 million. 

IFAD and Senegal invest in decent jobs and incomes for poor and marginalized rural young people

September 2019 - NEWS
About 150,000 rural young people in Senegal – 50 per cent of them women - will benefit from a new US$93.3 million project that aims to create income and decent sustainable jobs in agricultural, pastoral and fishery value chains.

Afrobeat stars Mr Eazi and Sherrie Silver at 2019 African Green Revolution Forum to support IFAD's call for greater investment in youth and rural development

August 2019 - NEWS
Urgent investments in agriculture and rural development from Africa's leaders are needed to create opportunities in support of the millions of young people who will soon enter the job market.

Related publications

Leaving no one behind: making the case for adolescent girls

July 2019
On 22-23 October 2018 IFAD and Save the Children Italy, with the support of the Government of Canada organized the International Conference “Leaving no one behind: making the case for adolescent girls”. 

2019 Rural Development Report

June 2019

IFAD’s RDR 2019 finds that this enormous rural youth population can pay a rich dividend in terms of social and economic growth – but only if they are given the right opportunities.

Research Series Issue 36: Who works in agriculture?

April 2019
This analysis examines the dynamics of youth employment in agriculture and the agri-food system in Tanzania and Malawi.

Related documents

IFAD Action Plan - Rural Youth

Tags: YOUTH
Type: Policies and Strategies, Strategy