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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

Help farmers and the planet? Yes, we can

Tajikistan is a mountainous country nestled in Central Asia. Over five million people live a rural life, the majority of them depending on agriculture for their livelihoods.

 

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

New Report: Investments in indigenous people, youth and women essential to fight climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean

December 2019 - NEWS
Development projects that integrate investments in rural indigenous people, youth and women with measures to adapt to climate change are more likely to be successful in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a new report launched today by IFAD.

IFAD calls on governments in Asia and Pacific region to invest in their rural youth

November 2019 - NEWS
With about 60 per cent of the developing world’s rural youth living in Asian and Pacific countries, specific and effective policies and investments are urgently needed to offer them a future, according to a report by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to be presented at Peking University today.

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. 

Related publications

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. 

Research Series Issue 60: Investing in rural youth in the Near East, North Africa, Europe and Central Asia

December 2019
This study reviews the opportunities and challenges facing rural youth in the Near East, North Africa, Europe and Central Asia region.

Research Series Issue 59: The rural youth situation in Latin America and the Caribbean

December 2019

This study offers a general picture of the situation of rural youth in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Related documents

IFAD Action Plan - Rural Youth

Tags: YOUTH
Type: Policies and Strategies, Strategy