Policy Brief Series: Issue no. 1, Volume XII, January 2012

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has a unique population profile, with 44% of its population under the age of 15 in 2006, making it the youngest region of the world. Agriculture employs 65% of Africa's labour force and accounts for 32% of gross domestic product. However, climate change exacerbates the low performing smallholder agriculture sector across Africa. 

Today, two out of three inhabitants of SSA are under 25 years of age. Africans aged 15 to 24 are projected to reach 350 million by 2050. Young Africans are therefore the key to African agricultural development, even in the smallholder agriculture sector, which currently offers few opportunities for today's youth. However, many are unable to fulfil their potential because of poverty, hunger, poor health and lack of education. 

The average age of the African farmer is over 50 years but farming is perceived by many young people as old-fashioned and offering little opportunity for a productive future, so they seek well-paid jobs in towns and cities. However, the majority of them lack the skills needed to gain employment in other formal sectors. There is thus an urgent need to encourage them to be involved in the agricultural sector, especially in the rural areas, where underemployment is prevalent.

Year: 
2012