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Youth employment

Youth employment

Almost 88 percent of the world’s 1.2 billion youth live in developing countries. Globally, young people account for approximately 24 percent of the working poor and this dynamic is particularly pronounced in Africa, where over 70 percent of youth subsist on US$2 per day or less. Although the world’s youth population is expected to grow, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young women and men remain limited – particularly for those living in economically stagnant rural areas of developing countries.

The majority of rural youth are employed in the informal economy as contributing family workers, subsistence farmers, home-based micro-entrepreneurs or unskilled workers. They typically earn low wages, are employed under casual or seasonal work arrangements and face unsafe, often exploitive working conditions that compel many to migrate to urban areas. Re-engaging youth in agriculture requires addressing the numerous constraints that they face when trying to earn a livelihood. Among others, they include insufficient access to skills development and education; limited access to resources such as land; and low levels of involvement in decision-making processes. Rural youth are also typically excluded from those institutions that provide access to financial services – such as credit, savings and insurance –which further hinders their ability to participate in the sector.