ROME, July 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The economic transformation of rural areas and the creation of jobs for millions of young rural people are pre-conditions to stability in the Sahel, says Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), who takes his message to the G7 ministerial meeting on development in Paris tomorrow.
"There can be no stability where there is poverty, hunger and no opportunities for millions of marginalized young people," said Houngbo, prior to the meeting.
In the Sahel, the number of young people is unprecedented, with over 60 per cent of the population below 25 years of age. Two thirds of youth live in rural areas and are poorer and more often lack access to employment, skills, financial services and technology than adults. By 2050, it is projected that the number of young people aged 15-34 will increase by 46 million.
"If given the opportunity, young rural people can drive the economic development of their communities," said Houngbo. "But we need the right policies and investments in place before they can have any hope of doing so."
Today, the food sector is the backbone of the economy in the Sahel. It is the biggest employer and generates more than 80 per cent of employment in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Chad. Of these jobs, three quarters are in agriculture specifically.
According to IFAD, the growing global demand for food products, which is projected to increase 60 per cent by 2050, opens up opportunities for job creation, not only at the production level but at the processing, packaging, transportation, distribution and retail levels.
While in Paris, Houngbo will participate in the G7 working dinner focusing on the creation of decent work for young rural people in the rural areas of the Sahel. The dinner will be attended by G7 Development Ministers and Ministers from the G5 Sahel.
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SOURCE International Fund for Agricultural Development