Promoting employment for young people in rural areas

Project description

Title: Global Project on Rural Employment with a Focus on Youth
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Supraregional, focus on sub-Saharan Africa, country packages in Kenya, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Mozambique
Lead executing agency: Partner ministries in the respective country packages
Overall term: 2018 to 2024



Africa is the continent with the largest proportion of young people – on average, the population of sub-Saharan Africa is about 18 years old. Every year, around 25 million young people enter the labour market.

Despite urbanisation, the majority of these young people live in rural areas, where small-scale farming is the most important source of income. Two-thirds of the population in these regions earn their living from agriculture and the food industry. Women and young people are disproportionately affected by unemployment, underemployment, and poor employment conditions. Traditional smallholder agriculture is often low in productivity, and many young people do not consider it as a promising occupation for themselves.

To feed the rapidly growing population, agricultural production in Africa needs to double by 2050. Increased productivity, wider use of innovative technologies, and sustainable farming methods are the prerequisites for this development, and at the same time offer great potential for income and employment. Young people play a vital role in the development of rural areas and the modernisation of the agricultural sector.


The training and employment situation in rural areas has improved in the partner countries, especially for young people.

Broad-based approaches to promoting employment in rural areas are firmly anchored in German development cooperation and the topic is strategically positioned in national and international processes.



The broad-based promotion of employment in rural areas is a central concern of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The project has two main priorities. Firstly, it directly implements measures to promote employment in Kenya, Burkina Faso, Malawi and Mozambique. Secondly, it advises BMZ in Germany.

To improve the employment situation of young people in rural areas in the three countries, the project supports the following three areas with an integrated approach to employment promotion:

  • Labour supply: Young people improve their employment prospects by obtaining access to modern, market-oriented agricultural qualifications.
  • Labour demand: Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and start-ups continue to develop their businesses and business models, thus creating employment prospects for themselves and others.
  • Matching: A supportive business environment and needs-based placement services bring potential employers and employees together.

The equal rights and promotion of women, especially young women, are important for the long-term future of rural areas. The project fosters their potential and takes the different roles and needs of young women in society into account.

Additionally, the transnational exchange of good practices and learning experiences plays and important role, the implementation in the individual countries.

This generates synergies for the project's innovation and knowledge management, which supports BMZ with advice in three thematic areas:

Policy advice and positioning in national and international processes

Based on practical experience and research findings, the project supports BMZ in positioning itself in international processes. These include, for example, the AU agricultural programme CAADP and the partnership between the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU). Implementation of the G20 initiative on youth employment in rural areas is particularly relevant as a framework for international exchange and the formation of strategic partnerships.

Concept development and impact measurement of employment promotion

The project reviews current gender-sensitive and youth-specific concepts and approaches for rural economic development and employment promotion in the agricultural and food industry and in agricultural education and training (ATVET), develops these further, and makes them available for implementation. Experiences gained in measuring impact on employment are incorporated into the future development of approaches, concepts, and guidelines.

Networking, learning and mainstreaming

Innovative formats for networking, learning and mainstreaming support exchange with other stakeholder. These include other donors, selected development cooperation projects, research institutes, and think tanks, networks of experts, and professional associations. The project contributes to mainstreaming the topic in German development cooperation.



In Kenya, Burkina Faso, Malawi, and Mosambique, 29,000 young women and men are benefiting from the measures. Training, start-up support and better access to information and services enable them to increase their incomes and improve their employment prospects.

By developing new concepts for portfolio development and integrating with national and international processes, the project helps to establish a more favourable environment for achieving greater impacts on rural employment.

Additional information