Today there are more than 1.2 billion young people (15-24 years old) in the world. Every day, they face challenges to enter the labour market and find decent jobs that ensure long-term sustainability.
In rural areas, the challenges become more complex. Restrictions on access to land, natural resources, financing, technology, knowledge, information and education make it difficult for youth to contribute to the rural economy.
Few young people can stay in rural areas and live on agriculture. Often the only option is to migrate. In Latin America and the Caribbean, youth represent 25.3% of the population and on average they represent only 17.5% of the rural population of the region as we can see in the graph below (IFAD, 2019).
In addition, the data show the exit of young people from rural areas and the need to add innovative production methods and knowledge created by and for youth.
IFAD understands that investing in youth is crucial to generate dynamic rural economic growth. Therefore, starting at 2019 at least 50% of our projects will have elements that promote the empowerment of rural youth.
Young people are less adverse to take risks and more prone to innovate, and to adopt new technologies. These skills will be fundamental to reform the food system and global adaptations to the climate crisis.
For more information, see our Report on Rural Development (2019) available here.