FAO, UNIDO to promote youth employment via agriculture

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The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has pledged to promote youth employment in the agriculture sector in Africa.

The Director General of FAO, Qu Dongyu, made this known at the sideline of the seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) in Yokohama, Japan.

He said the African Union and other partners would launch the Flagship Initiative to Accelerate Youth Employment in Agriculture and Agribusiness in Africa.

He said Africa has the youngest population in the world, with more than 600 million young people in the labour market.

Its main focus is to provide technical assistance, capacity development and knowledge exchange to youth enterprises by prioritising agricultural value chains.

“As such, responsible agricultural investment to develop rural areas and reduce urban-rural disparity through public-private partnerships is fundamental.

“When we talk about the potential of human capital in Africa, we are particularly referring to young people.

“African agribusinesses are expected to create a market worth US$1 trillion by 2030, so agriculture and agribusiness have an invaluable and untapped potential to address the youth unemployment challenge,” Qu said.

He said dissemination of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can further leverage the capacity of young people to innovate and launch a new business.

These technologies connect small farmers to markets, reduce transaction costs and mitigate risks as well as establish new possibilities for education and technical training in remote rural areas.

“Agenda 2063 for Africa aspires to achieve equal prosperity, based on inclusive and sustainable growth, driven by the potential of women and youth in particular,” he said.