The pressing issue of widespread unemployment among youth across Africa and the economic marginalization that results from many years of "jobless growth" is linked to civil unrest and a host of social ills. This is especially true for youth upon graduation from secondary school in rural areas, where few employment opportunities exist. However, graduates are reluctant to enter into agriculture because they consider it to be low-status and unlikely to meet their livelihood aspirations.
Development planners view agricultural transformation as a frontier for economic growth in Africa, but its greatest asset — the ambition, enthusiasm, and energy of youth — is not being effectively mobilized in this direction. The objective of this project is to increase the participation and engagement of youth in agriculture and agribusiness in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and Nigeria.
The project aims to understand gender-differentiated aspirations of young people, their attitudes towards agriculture, and how this influences their career choices, with a focus on secondary schools. It will evaluate the capacities of secondary schools in different countries and settings to advance instruction and extracurricular activities related to agribusiness development and to develop models for different rural settings.
The project will test a model of youth-led clubs devoted to agribusiness development and monitor their impacts. It will also establish a network of youth-led pilot agribusiness enterprises and monitor their development and impacts on changing youth attitudes towards agriculture. Finally, it will build capacity to document and scale out lessons from the research to other stakeholders and schools (to inform curriculum development) in the three target countries and beyond.