Rural employment with a focus on youth

Project description

Title: Sector project ‘Rural employment with a focus on youth’
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: worldwide with a focus on Africa
Overall term: 2018 to 2022



In Africa alone, 440 million young people will throng onto the labour market by 2030. The majority live in rural areas where small-scale farming is the main source of income. Ninety per cent of the people living there earn their income from the agricultural sector and food industry. But rural areas are often lacking in attractive employment opportunities and prospects for the future.

Women and young people are disproportionately affected by underemployment, unemployment, precarious job situations and informal employment conditions. Their situations are often plagued by insecurity, poor working conditions, high workload, low productivity and low pay.

Agricultural production in Africa will need to double by 2050 in order to be able to feed the rapidly growing population. Increases in productivity, innovative technologies and sustainable farming methods are prerequisites for this. Young people in particular are key players who can drive future change and development processes.


Broad-based approaches to promoting employment in rural areas, especially among young people, are 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 BMZ. The project will focus on three fields of action.

Policy advice and positioning in national and international processes
Practical experience and research findings are taken as a basis for expert advice and strategic development. The project will support the BMZ in positioning itself in international processes, such as the 2030 Agenda, the partnership between the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU), or the AU agricultural programme CAADP. The implementation of the G20 initiative on youth employment in rural areas is particularly relevant in terms of promoting international exchange, identifying common priorities and forming international partnerships.

Concept development and measurement of impact of employment promotion
The aim is to develop current gender-sensitive and youth-specific concepts as well as approaches and instruments of German and international development cooperation and to make them available for implementation. The main focus is on coherent concepts and approaches for rural economic development and employment promotion in the agricultural sector and food industry and in agricultural education and training (ATVET). Experience gained in measuring impact on employment and in setting up efficient monitoring structures will be incorporated into the future development of approaches, concepts and guidelines. This requires both a uniform understanding of the terms used and clarification of the interfaces to topics like employment prospects, migration, urban-rural movements, fragility, digitisation, agricultural value chains, structural change and social security.

Networking, learning and mainstreaming
Innovative formats for networking, learning and mainstreaming will be conducive to exchange with relevant key players like other donors and development partners, selected development cooperation projects, scientific institutes and think tanks, expert networks and professional associations. The central activities will include the compilation of lessons learned and the dissemination of fully developed and prepared concepts and approaches in knowledge platforms, forums, networks and publications. The topic will be an established part of the portfolio of German development cooperation with a broad reach through close cooperation with the experts and the specialists in methodology.



The development of new concepts and their integration in national and international processes will improve the framework conditions for more efficient use of funds for increased employment impact in rural areas.

The exchange of views and expertise on knowledge platforms will lead to a further boost in the broad impact on employment and ultimately to an improvement in the employment situation in rural areas, especially among young people.

Increased support for productive employment in rural development will improve income and job prospects and will contribute to the development of a dynamic agricultural sector and food industry and therefore to poverty reduction and food security. The sector project will help to exploit the potential of rural areas for employment to greater effect.