Brussels, 16 May 2017/ BB/ CTA/ ACP: This Thursday 18 May, the ACP Secretariat will host more than 150 ACP and EU policymakers, international development practitioners and experts, along with members of civil society, research networks, and the private sector this Thursday for the 49th Brussels Development Briefing (BB49), with a focus on creating jobs and promoting entrepreneurship for youth in Africa.

The event is part of a series of bi-monthly events jointly organised by the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CTA), the European Commission’s DG DEVCO, the ACP Secretariat, and Concord, which highlight key issues and challenges for agriculture and rural development. This briefing in particular is also co-organised with the Pan-African Farmers’ Organisation (PAFO) and AgriCord, the alliance for agri-agencies and organisations for international cooperation on rural development.

The BB49 theme “Youth in Agribusiness: Shaping the Future of Agriculture” will be discussed in light of striking demographic predictions for Africa, which indicate that providing employment and income generating opportunities for the next generations will be the critical challenge for the next decades.

For instance, 88% of the world’s 1.2 billion youth live in developing countries. Globally, young people account for approximately 24 percent of the working poor and this dynamic is particularly pronounced in Africa, where over 70 percent of youth subsist on US$2 per day or less.

Moreover, with 60% of its population aged 24 or less in 2015 (compared to 42% globally and 30% in high-income countries), Africa has the youngest population of any continent in the world. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the percentage of youth rises to 63%. Eleven million youth are expected to enter Africa’s labour market every year for the next decade, yet only about 3 million formal jobs are created, leaving millions under or unemployed.

Although the world’s youth population is expected to grow, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young women and men remain limited – particularly for those living in economically stagnant rural areas of developing countries. Despite rapid growth in formal wage sector jobs, the majority of these youth are likely to work on family farms and in household enterprises, often with very low incomes. To boost young people’s earnings, governments need to hasten overall business climate reforms, strengthen basic education, and make land, infrastructure, training and financing more accessible.

In this vein, putting measures in place to improve the investment climate in Africa is critical, and policies to increase rural farm and non-farm employment will involve many sectors, including financial services, transport, health, education and the management of natural resources. The spread of information and communication technologies (ICTs) will also help to stimulate rural employment.

The upcoming Brussels Briefing feature two panels, including one on job creation for youth in the agricultural sector, and one on successes and opportunities for young farmers and entrepreneurs. Speakers will include representatives of agri-agencies and associations on the ground, sharing concrete experiences and lessons. Discussions amongst participants on challenges, solutions and future outlooks will be included in a post-event report to be made available to the public.


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