Policy Brief Series: Issue no. 2, Volume XII, April 2012

Sub-Saharan Africa has the world's youngest population and is home to over 200 million young people. Two out of three inhabitants are under 25 years of age and 44% of its population is under the age of 15. 70% of the youth resides in rural areas (FANRPAN, 2012b) and employed African youth work primarily in the agricultural sector, where they account for 65% of the workforce. However, rural areas are not benefitting fully from this resource, with most young men and women leaving rural areas to seek employment opportunities elsewhere. In addition, the youth in rural non-farm employment are better off than the youth employed on farms (AfDB et al., 2012). 

Young African men and women are critical to the development of agriculture in Africa and for efforts to ensure food security. They are the future farmers, future policy makers, future leaders, future researchers and future drivers of Africa's social and economic development. However, while the role of agriculture in job and wealth creation for young people has been recognised, the nexus between the African youth and agriculture has only partially or insufficiently been developed and translated into public policies at the national, regional or continental level.