17/08/2017 – News / International Labour Organization / ILO / Employment / Global

New report explores how thriving rural economies are key to combating the world’s growing youth unemployment crisis

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are currently around 71 million unemployed 15-to-24-year-olds across the globe. And while every economy grapples with this challenge, it is one that invariably hits low-income countries the hardest. Indeed, even where work exists in such countries, much is low paid. Last year, about 156 million (or 38 per cent) of employed youth in emerging markets were living in extreme or moderate poverty – on the equivalent of less than US$3.10 per day.

 

Globally there are over 1.2 billion young people between the ages of 15 and 24, with the majority living in rural areas of low and middle income countries. The recently released Rural Youth Employment synthesis paper authored by IFAD and the World Bank shows how a thriving rural economy can help address major challenges caused by rural youth unemployment and its direct effects, such as mass migration.

 

 

"Rural areas are failing to provide opportunity and are losing their young people. This has major consequences at the local, national and global level. It can erode national economies, political stability, and food security,” stressed Gilbert F. Houngbo, the President of the United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), who will meet with high-level government officials in Denmark this week to discuss the outcomes of his organisation's latest report on rural youth and employment.

 

 

Many developing countries are today experiencing a youth bulge. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, over 16 million young people – many from rural areas – will enter the labour market every year until 2030. Yet the IFAD-World Bank study shows that opportunities exist to raise the prospects of the world's youth – increased investment in rapidly evolving agriculture and food systems in developing countries presents huge potential for job creation. Indeed, the burgeoning worldwide demand for food, and a shift in consumption to higher value products, could create new jobs not only in production, but also in distribution, processing and related agricultural services - in the process, averting the crisis of disenfranchisement for our global youth.

 

 

View IFAD's new report on rural youth and employment here: https://www.ifad.org/documents/10180/7f17e99c-9ad4-473c-bcb9-6c60cb2e7bab

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