Youth and Jobs in Rural Africa: Beyond Stylized Facts

YOUTH AND JOBS IN RURAL AFRICA: BEYOND STYLIZED FACTS

December 26, 2019

Book launch event on 21 January 2020>>

The share of working-age young people (15 to 24 years old) in Africa south of the Sahara has risen due to past declines in mortality coupled with high fertility. This “youth bulge” has created a sense of urgency among national governments and the international development community as the prospect of widespread youth unemployment in Africa, and the social instability and political unrest it could bring, looms closer. As a result, African governments are under pressure to create more and better jobs for the region’s young and rapidly growing population.

Africa’s youth bulge does present a challenge, but it may also prove to be an opportunity to advance rural development. A young and better-educated workforce could lead to greater use of more sophisticated farm technologies, commercial agricultural practices, and expansion of rural nonfarm enterprises. These are crucial steps for accelerating agricultural transformation in Africa, and young men and women could be the “agents of change” that the region so badly needs. The literature and debate around youth employment in Africa is therefore one of contrasts—between apprehension on the one hand, and cautious optimism on the other.

The new book, Youth and Jobs in Rural Africa: Beyond Stylized Facts questions some of the stylized facts that underpin the prevailing narratives and policy debates about youth employment in rural Africa. Is Africa’s youth bulge unprecedented? Are youth more likely to adopt modern farm technologies and practices? Are youth more likely to engage in rural nonfarm activities or migrate to urban centers? Are policymakers adequately responding to the youth employment challenge, and are rural young people themselves mobilizing and demanding policy reforms from their governments?

Read the full synopsis >> 

Read the book (Open Access) >>

Watch James Thurlow, an editor, present the book in this short video:

Citation

Mueller, Valerie; and Thurlow, James (Eds.) 2019. Youth and jobs in rural Africa: Beyond stylized facts. New York, NY: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198848059.001.0001


The research in the book was conducted as part of and funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets
(PIM), which is led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and carried out with support from the CGIAR Trust Fund and through bilateral funding agreements. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided funding for the Ghana chapter via its support for IFPRI’s Ghana Strategy Support Programme (grant number: EEM-G-00-04-00013). The United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) provided funding for the Malawi chapter via its support for IFPRI’s Malawi Strategy Support Programme (grant number: 203824-106). The International Growth Centre provided funding for the Tanzania chapter (grant number: 1-VCC-VTZA-VXXXX-40414).

Photo used in the banner: Robert Hammond / Panos

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