Let the youth guide us!
Young entrepreneurs are critical allies to achieve the goals of the 2030 Development Agenda
“To achieve a different result, our approach must be different, to make a difference in global food system, our approach must be different, the difference we need to make now like never before is to partner with the youth”
The entrenched challenge of promoting inclusive food systems while generating better jobs for youth
Inclusive food systems have become trending topic, especially in the post COVID-19 recovery era. The need to strengthen local and inclusive food systems to ensure sustained, resilient food security and poverty reduction is widely recognized. The forthcoming UN Food Systems Summit 2021 will offer a unique opportunity to identify and promote actions in favour of building a just and resilient world where No One is Left Behind. At the same time, the gap in decent jobs for youth remains flagrant, especially in low-income countries. In sub-Saharan Africa only, around 20 million youth are expected to entry the labour market annually, in a context of widespread informality poor quality, low-paying jobs, often hazardous, with high shares of low-productivity small-scale production.
Harnessing the potential of agri-food systems to generate more and better jobs for young people has to be a priority. The inclusion of young people is key to increase the generational turnover in agriculture, foster the sector competitiveness and maintain the vitality of rural areas. This demands direct youth targeting and dedicated programme components, addressing gender and youth dimensions as cross-cutting, and engaging youth since interventions’ design. Strengthening youth organization and collective voice is especially crucial to ensure policies, strategies and programmes proactively address their context-specific needs, constraints and aspirations. Yet, evidence from country programmes and recent youth-led initiatives, seems to indicate that the real game changer will probably be partnering with the youth as innovators.