Youth employment in rural area

Offering young people in rural areas better employment prospects is one of the objectives of the sector project. The young population is the key to a modern and efficient agricultural economy.

© GIZ/ Klaus Wohlmann

Project description

To successfully position the issue of youth employment on the international agenda and to offer young people in rural areas better employment prospects through broad-based support approaches.

Target group

Direct: Actors of development coorperation

Indirect: population of rural areas, especially young people


January 2018 to December 2022

Project sponsor



5 milionen euros


Supraregional with focus on africa

Lydiah Wafula has made it - in 2013 the young Kenyan agripreneur founded "Kikwit Dairies". Her success story began with 3 employees and 5 Frisian dairy cows. Today she employs seven young permanent staff and together they own a herd of 60 dairy cows. They provide fresh milk to schools and banks in Mumias, Kenya. A success story of a young woman who has identified and developed a market niche. Lydiah also uses her experience to create perspectives in agriculture for other young people and is, therefore, a representative for the rural youth in Kakamega. The participation of young people in decision-making processes and the understanding of agriculture as a business are particularly important to her.  This participation lives from dialogue processes between young and old because only in this way young people can understand themselves as part of the community and make a valuable contribution in the form of their challenges and approaches to solutions.


That contribution is highly relevant:  Africa is the continent with the youngest population in the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, 70% of the population is under 30. At the same time, the number of young people continues to rise. Despite urbanization, the majority of the population lives in rural areas, where smallholder farming is the most important source of income.  However, as everywhere in the world, rural areas offer few attractive employment opportunities and future prospects, especially for young people. Youth unemployment and underemployment are high.


Qualified education and training, Ethiopia, @GIZ/Tsegaye


The engagement in agriculture is often seen as a necessity for securing one's livelihood rather than as an entrepreneurial activity. Young people, in particular, perceive jobs in the agricultural sector as "uncool" because of their low profitability and the still large share of hard, physical work, and regard them as a last resort in case they cannot find another, “better” job. When young people decide to work in agriculture, they face a variety of challenges.


And yet: Agricultural production in Africa must double by 2050 to feed a growing population. This need holds enormous potential for new jobs within the food value chain. According to World Bank estimates, the agricultural and food sector in sub-Saharan Africa alone could grow from USD 300 billion to USD 1,000 billion by 2030. According to OECD data on employment development, agricultural jobs in West Africa, for example, will triple to 117 million by 2025. 


The sector project "Employment in rural areas with a focus on young people" supports the BMZ in broadly effective promotion of youth employment in rural areas, as a central concern of the BMZ special initiative "EINE WELT ohne Hunger" (One World without Hunger). The SP supports the BMZ by providing expert advice on the design and implementation of international processes, in particular, the G20 initiative for youth employment. The project advises on the development, implementation and impact assessment of strategic approaches in the field of employment promotion. Relevant analyses, experiences and concepts are disseminated through exchanges in specialist networks, events or training and capacity development measures and finally reach young people via the actors and partners of German Development Cooperation.


As one of its outreach activities, the sector project holds a regular webinar series with the SNRD Africa network. In one of these webinars, Lydiah reports on her personal experiences as a young farmer in her article "How to Elevate Rural Youth Representation for Inclusive Agriculture and Planning“ and summarizes the (often gender-specific) challenges for young people in the agricultural sector. 


Advice on sustainable cultivation and irrigation methods, Malawi, @GIZ/Boethling

In addition to technical and economic expertise, access to land is often a basic prerequisite for starting an agribusiness, this holds especially true for new business start-ups or expansion. However, the acquisition of land requires financial resources which are not widely available to many people, especially young people and women in particular. Access to financial services for young people is in many cases severely restricted because they do not have sufficient collateral. Many young agripreneurs fail at this hurdle.


If their business has worked out despite these adversities, the young entrepreneurs face the challenge of having to gather information about markets and upstream and downstream services piece by piece. Although modern information and communication technologies can be helpful here, they are often only accessible to a limited extent. The search for qualified personnel also presents young agriculturalists with major challenges. They often do not know where to find qualified personnel - this is also because training in business management skills and good agricultural practice is not available across the board. A lot of "learning on the job" training has to take place on the actual farm. At the same time, young job seekers often do not know how to find a suitable job or how to gain access to training and further education.


It quickly becomes apparent that the topic of youth employment, especially in rural areas, is a very complex and often highly context-dependent field of work. The webinar series represents a small contribution to the work of the sector project in the area of networking & mainstreaming of the topic of youth employment in rural areas. By disseminating good practice and success factors, other GIZ projects can be sensitized to the individual challenges and better adapt their employment strategies to the needs of young people in rural areas. On the other hand, projects such as the GIZ project on food security in Kenya, the Lydiah Wafula, can report supported by their work.


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Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is a globally active provider of international cooperation for sustainable development. It has more than 50 years of experience in a wide range of fields.  

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