NSSP Working Paper No. 31- Delving Deeper into the Agricultural Transformation and Youth Employment Nexus: The Nigerian Case
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the NSSP Office is pleased to announce the publication of a new Working Paper titled “Delving deeper into the Agricultural Transformation and Youth Employment Nexus: The Nigerian Case.” The paper, co-authored by Margaret Adesugba and George Mavrotas of the IFPRI Nigeria Strategy Support Program, focuses on issues affecting youth employment in the agricultural sector using also Nigeria as a case study.
Youth employment is not an entirely new topic for research and policy. Recent estimates from the International Labour Organization (ILO, 2013a) suggest that high and rising unemployment rates among youth remain a key challenge to global development, especially in the developing world. This is particularly important in sub-Saharan Africa where about 85 percent of youth (defined by the ILO as all those between the ages of 15 and 24 years) are poor, 70 percent live in rural areas where agriculture is the main source for their income and subsistence, and 11 million youth are expected to enter the labor market every year for the next decade (World Bank 2014). These characteristics of youth in sub-Saharan Africa justify the centrality of the nexus between youth employment and agriculture in formulating development policy on the continent. At the same time, youth unemployment is currently one of the issues receiving attention at the top of the global development agenda. Turning to Nigeria, while the proportion of unemployed youth have decreased in recent years with more job creation programs targeted towards them, the proportion of unemployed youth in Nigeria is still high. Against this background, in order to critically analyze the youth unemployment situation in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole and in Nigeria in particular and to delve deeper into the potential that agriculture has for job creation for youth, in Section 2 the paper provides an overview of the youth unemployment situation globally and in Africa, followed, in Section 3 by a review of the literature on the role agriculture plays in job creation. In Section 4, the authors review the dynamics of unemployment and job creation in Nigeria, highlighting sectors where jobs were created both for youth and adults in recent years. In doing so, they use the latest data for Nigeria and also employ the new definitions of employment and unemployment (May 2015) of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). In Section 5 the paper discusses recent initiatives in Nigeria on that front, with a particular focus on two youth employment projects – the Youth and Women in Agribusiness Investment Program and the Youth Employment in Agriculture Program (YEAP). The concluding section of the paper discusses some tentative policy recommendations emanating from authors’ analysis for Nigeria of youth employment in agriculture.
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