Unido, FAO, AU to boost African rural youth employment

Yokohama, Aug 29 (IANS/AKI) A project led by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the African Union aims to create more jobs and opportunities for young people in agriculture and agribusiness in Africa, the FAO said in a statement on Thursday.

The flagship initiative focusses on technical assistance, capacity development and knowledge exchange for youth enterprises, said the statement.

The project will give priority to the entire range of goods and services needed to bring an agricultural product from farms to the final customer or consumer, it added.

"When we talk about the potential of human capital in Africa, we are particularly referring to young people," FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu said.

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

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

Responsible agricultural investment to develop rural areas and reduce urban-rural disparity through public-private partnerships are key to fighting rural youth joblessness. And spreading Information and Communication Technologies is also crucial to this goal, said the FAO statement.

ICTs connect small farmers to markets, reduce transaction costs and mitigate risks as well as opening up new possibilities for education and technical training in remote rural areas an empowering young people to innovate and start businesses, the statement underlined.

"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," Unido Director General Li Yong emphasised.

The FAO-UNIDO Flagship Initiative also calls on the UN's partners to help further strengthen cooperation by implementing a blueprint to forge new partnerships and mobilise resources to employ African youth and propel the continent's development.

The initiative was launched on the sidelines of the seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development and reflects a global commitment to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, the statement noted.

--IANS/AKI

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