Strengthening the employment of rural youth as successful alternatives and opportunities in the context of migration in Central Africa
Every year more and more people are choosing to leave their home country to find a better place or escape from areas of high poverty where they lack food security. It is estimated that during 2015, in Sub-Saharan Africa, about 33 million people emigrated. The half of them migrated within the African continent with a huge percentage composed by rural youth, who perceive migration as the only option to improve their quality of life and improve their employment opportunities.
In order to improve understanding about the complex links between migration, rural youth and the development of rural territories, the Regional FAO Office for Africa in partnership with Procasur has promoted the Learning Route “Strengthening the employment of rural youth as successful alternatives and opportunities in the context of migration in Central Africa”.
A total of 22 participants amongst youth entrepreneurs, decision makers, government officials and FAO representatives from 8 Central African countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe and Chad) participated to this initiative held in Cameroon between the 3rd and the 12th of November 2019.
The initiative was aimed at exploring innovative approaches and tools that promote employment and entrepreneurship of rural youth as possible alternatives to youth migration from rural areas. Participants were able to exchange experiences with local development projects that focus on the challenges faced by young people, their employability alternatives and the impact of policies to improve public and private investments that enhance the positive effects of youth migration to rural areas.
During the learning journey, the participants visited three successful experiences that have developed innovative tools and approaches able to promote Rural Youth inclusion in agriculture and agro-industry in Cameroon.
First, they visited the PARI-JEDI programme, which operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Youth and Civic Education and promotes the return and socio-economic integration of young people from the Diaspora who have professional projects or wish to start up a new entrepreneurial activity in their territory.
After that, it was the turn of the PCP-AFOP programme, promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries, which has contributed to the employability and inclusiveness of young people in rural areas of Cameroon. To achieve this objective, the programme seeks to renew the system of professional training for young people, through a territorial approach in the agricultural and fishing sectors.
Finally, the participants of the Route exchanged experiences with members and beneficiaries of the NGO PAARDIC, which seeks to implement innovative solutions in rural territories through participatory institutional diagnostics and territorial planning, named Community Development Plans (CDP).
During and immediately after the Route, participants were asked to prepare and finalize an innovation plan aimed at adopting, readapting and scaling up innovative tools and approaches in their respective organizations.
Amongst main lessons of the LR, the participants of this Route have concluded on how their strategies should be oriented to promote development beyond the agricultural value chain, giving relevance also to the service sector such as transport and trade. Land access is another aspect to be considered for sustainable inclusion of young people. Especially for women, who face major socio-cultural obstacles to owning their land.
On capacity building, the participants of the Route agreed that training processes should be optimized through innovative approaches that foster “know-how” and knowledge sharing among peers, as well as constant accompaniment of projects developed by young people. In that sense, it is essential to provide support in terms of resources; in addition, financial education should be enhanced by offering the necessary tools for a better relationship with institutions.