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Youth

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

Spotlight

Our Future is Here

Our Future is Here is a global, youth-led campaign to raise awareness of the untapped potential of rural young people to feed nations, boost economies and end extreme poverty for good.

Projects

Projects

Ghana

Ghana Agriculture Sector Investment Programme (GASIP)

Bolivia (Plurinational State of)

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

Cameroon

Youth Agropastoral Entrepreneurship Promotion Programme

Experts

Stories and news

Stories and news

Zero waste, full plates: winning with school meals - Episode 54

februari 2024 - PODCAST

In this episode, we explore why we must pursue zero hunger and zero waste as joint goals. In particular, we look at how these efforts are crucial for children, who depend on nutritious diets for healthy development.

IFAD President makes first official visit to Algeria to promote youth employment and climate adaptation in rural areas

januari 2024 - NEWS

IFAD President Alvaro Lario will be visiting Algeria next week in his first official visit to the country since he was elected head of the International Fund for Agricultural Development in 2022.

Rural youth breathe fresh life into Sri Lanka

december 2023 - STORY

Young people are crucial contributors to prosperous rural communities. Meet two entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka who are working hard to make a difference. 

A year of rural stories

december 2023 - STORY

For countless people in IFAD-supported projects, 2023 was a year in which their lives changed. Here are some of the stories we told over the past 12 months.

 

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Related publications

Related publications

Promoting youth engagement in Northern Montenegro

november 2023

This policy brief, based on the lessons and experience of the Rural Clustering and Transformation Project in Montenegro, describes how engaging youth in agriculture requires an enabling environment.

Youth and Jobs in The Era of Climate Change, Conflict and Crisis: An Evidence and Gap Map

september 2023

This evidence and gap map (EGM) plots studies on the effectiveness of interventions for youth employment in developing countries in the context of climate change, conflict and crisis, demonstrating where evidence exists and where it is lacking.