Joint ILO – IFAD event

ILO calls for strengthened partnerships to promote decent work for youth in rural Africa

The ILO and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) gathered Governments’, workers’ and employers representatives from Africa and key stakeholders to discuss how integrated agribusiness hubs can support decent jobs for young people in the region.

News | 11 April 2023
ABIDJAN (ILO News) – The ILO Regional Office for Africa hosted a virtual policy dialogue on youth employment in the rural economy on the 5th of April 2023. The event showcased recently launched ILO-IFAD rural youth employment projects in Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar and Malawi. The event was attended by government representatives, workers’ and employers representatives and other stakeholders committed to supporting decent jobs for youth in rural Africa.
Peter Van Roiij, ILO Deputy Regional Director for Africa explaining during the webinar the importance of the agricultural sector in Africa
The regional policy dialogue organised by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in close collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), governments and social partners, reaffirmed the broad commitment of all stakeholders to promote decent jobs in Africa, in particular for young women and men in rural areas. The dialogue also showcased how investments in integrated agribusiness hubs can create decent jobs for young people in the region.

The event drew 199 participants, including officials from governments; social partners; international financial institutions and development partners; youth-led organisations and youth representatives; media representatives-interested in agriculture or youth employment; officials from regional organizations; ILO and IFAD offices in the region.

During the opening, Peter Van Rooij, ILO Deputy Regional Director for Africa, insisted on the need to shift from business as usually and invest in innovative intervention models that combine skills and market development. “These models should respond to the aspirations of young people and the needs of businesses”, he said, calling for strengthened partnerships and collaboration as cornerstones of efforts to promote decent work in the rural economy.

Speaking on behalf of IFAD, Tom Anyonge, IFAD Lead Technical Specialist on youth recognized that agribusinesses and adjacent sectors hold considerable potential in providing decent employment opportunities for African youth.

During a policy roundtable organized as part of the event, representatives of governments and social partners from the four countries implementing the ProAgro YOUTH project discussed challenges, shared innovative approaches, and presented solutions to address the issue. They also stressed the need to strengthen and scale up these initiatives. All speakers acknowledged the importance of engaging with the private sector not only to promote its development and the creation of decent jobs, but also to ensure technical and vocational training corresponds to the needs of enterprises.

The speakers further highlighted the need for meaningful engagement with youth organizations that need to be recognised as equal partners and key agents of change in designing and implementing youth employment policies and programmes.

Beneficiary of ProAgro YOUTH in Madagascar, Florence Narta Koriaka, in her testimony, praised the importance of this project which allows her today to have a decent job. "Before I was desperate. But with ProAgro YOUTH I had confidence in myself and I got a decent job" she said.

ProAgro YOUTH’s goal is to increase decent self and wage employment for rural youth through support integrated agribusiness hubs in Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar and Malawi . The project, funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with other stakeholders at the national level.