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Youth unemployment is a major challenge facing African countries and around the world. In pursuit of a solution, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has launched youth hubs to create employment opportunities for rural young people. Established in nine African countries, the hubs provide on-the-job training through apprenticeships.
As part of its effort to promote sustainable economic development and reduce unemployment, IFAD funds projects using “green smart” technology that create job opportunities in rural areas. With a focus on agricultural development, the projects provide young people with access to goods and services, as well as training in areas such as commodity value chains and post-harvest management.
So far, the youth hubs have trained and hired over 9,000 young people, helping them to gain employment opportunities in more than 2,255 enterprises. To meet the increasing demand for “green jobs”, the hubs are investing strategically in training programs in digitization, green skills and renewable energy.
These initiatives are part of a broader effort to equip young people with the skills they need to access the challenges offered by a green economy. In its report for International Youth Day, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that transitioning to a green economy could create 8.4 million jobs for young people by 2030.
For young women in particular, these projects offer a viable solution to unemployment. In Nigeria, for instance, rural young women are growing vegetables in specially-created polytunnels and are feeling fortunate to have a source of income. With the youth unemployment rate in Nigeria standing at 13%, the IRFAD-funded youth hubs are filling a vital gap in the job market.
IFAD’s Technical Specialist on Youth, Rahul Antao, believes these projects address the mismatch between the supply of young people’s skills and the demands of labour markets. In addition to providing training for entrepreneual youth, the hubs also help young people to access private companies and services.
The UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development is paving the way for a more sustainable future, one in which young people can access quality employment opportunities. By providing training, goods and services, and expert support, the youth hubs are combating the issue of youth unemployment, helping young people to access the opportunities of a green economy