Politics Shifts Into Gear With the Promotion of Rural Youth Employment

A new sector project on rural employment with a special focus on youth starts its operations

Women processing dates in a Tunisian cooperative
Photo: GIZ/Berno Buff

The aim of the new sector project is a profound conceptualization of strategic approaches that are conducive to the creation of employment opportunities in Africa, and to support BMZ with positioning itself in related national and international development cooperation processes. Operations include intensifying knowledge exchange as well as collaborating with SNRD member projects which critically target certain aspects of rural employment already.

As a first joint activity, an intensive exchange with projects in Ghana and Kenya took place to develop a pragmatic “methodology for measuring employment results in rural development programmes”, together with the Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI).

Initial ideas for engagement have already been discussed with the SNRD working group on Inclusive Agribusiness and Value Chains as well as the Policy working group. To enable networking and common learning across SNRD Africa, the sector project wants to actively engage and support the coordination of the community of practice on Rural Employment.

Activities will include virtual exchange formats such as webinars or brown bag lunches as well as the collaboration on specific aspects of rural employment, such as innovative instruments on employment creation and improvement of working conditions in agricultural value chains as well as statistical methodologies to measure employment figures in informal contexts.

Mount Cameroon National Park, 2001
Photo: GIZ/Guenay Ulutun

Employment is the key driver for development in coming decades

In Africa alone, 440 million young people are expected to enter the already highly competitive labour market until 2030 — most of them in rural areas where agriculture-related employment will surely remain the single most important source of income.

Raised productivity and sustainability factors are important prerequisites for any long-term prospects of the agri-food sector in rural areas of developing countries. Only if young people see opportunities for more secure employment and higher income, there will be a chance for sufficient protection of the natural resources base in these economies. Without a proper chance of fulfilling their aspirations in the foreseeable future, young people are likely to start questioning the political systems in their countries, running an elevated risk of long-term social unrest and heightened economic instability.

As stated in the Berlin Charta — which the BMZ committed to in April 2017 — German development cooperation efforts will need to focus on the creation of new jobs for young people in rural areas, “to cut underemployment at least by half by 2025[1]”. The G20 Initiative on Rural Youth Employment came up with the concrete targets of creating 1.1 million new jobs and provide employment-oriented skills development for at least five million young people.

To support the conceptualization and implementation of these initiatives, the BMZ commissioned the sector project Employment in Rural Areas – with Focus on Youth in early 2018 for a five-year period until the end of 2022. Located at the GIZ offices in Bonn, the project is part of the Special Initiative “One World-No Hunger” (SEWOH).


The sector project is very much looking forward to being an active part of the SNRD family and happy to get in touch soon. For any questions, contact Julia Bayer or Frank Bertelmann.


The sector project will be in close connection with the SNRD Africa community of practice on rural employment.

[1] Berlin Charta, p. 14: http://www.bmz.de/en/publications/type_of_publication/information_flyer/information_brochures/Materialie295_berlin_charta.pdf