Highlights – 12 July: Estonian presidency, DCI and EDF midterm evaluations, EU-Africa strategy – Committee on Development

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Chair of the Committee on Development

Welcome to the website of the Committee on Development (DEVE). I have had the honour of being Chair of the committee since July 2014.

Nearly a billion people around the world live in extreme poverty. Many more face hunger and disease or have no access to healthcare or education. Yet global development efforts, under the framework of the Millennium Development Goals, have led to measurable progress, and we have seen millions being lifted out of poverty in recent years. At the same time however, we are also seeing growing inequalities and need to find ways to make economic growth more beneficial for a greater number of people.

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The EU’s contribution to supporting development is vital and parliamentary support and scrutiny is an important element. Our committee participates in deciding the budget for EU aid spending, we keep a close watch on the European Commission, External Action Service and all those using EU aid funds, and we push for better coordination between donor countries and agencies. We participate in making the laws that frame EU development aid. We also meet with officials, stakeholders and experts from around the world to discuss solutions and hear what’s really needed on the ground. I invite you to regularly check the news and announcements, consult meeting documents or even watch our committee meetings live as they happen.

Linda McAvan

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Agriculture ministers urged to address African rural youth unemployment

Photo: ©FAO/Tamiru Legesse

An FAO-supported horticulture project in Ethiopia is helping create job opportunities for young people.

2 July 2017, Rome – Youth employment should be at the centre of any strategy to face economic and demographic challenges in Africa, the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization José Graziano da Silva told a joint African Union-European Union meeting, hosted at FAO headquarters in Rome. 

In 2014 alone, about 11 million young Africans entered the labour market.  But many see few opportunities in the agriculture sector and are constrained by a lack of skills, low wages, and limited access to land and financial services. Combined, this makes them more prone to migrate from rural areas.

“Fostering sustainable agriculture and rural development is essential to absorb these millions of youth looking for a job,” Graziano da Silva said. “A sustainable world can only be achieved with the full engagement of young people. They must feel integrated and believe that a more peaceful and prosperous world is possible.”

The one-day meeting was co-hosted by the African Union Commission, the European Commission and the Estonian Presidency of the EU Council and was attended by Ministers of Agriculture of the African Union and the European Union.

The aim was to build a common vision on how to generate sustainable, inclusive jobs for African youth in the rural sector.

Five step solution

The Director-General outlined five steps to engage youth in agriculture and rural development. Firstly, enhance youth participation and leadership in producer organizations and other rural institutions to empower them to engage in policy dialogue.

Secondly, stimulate private sector investments to create a modern and dynamic agricultural sector and value chains, and to build infrastructure needed for agricultural investments. Thirdly, provide rural areas with better services such as electricity, education and health.

The fourth step is to strengthen the physical, economic, social and political links between small urban centres and their surrounding rural areas. Finally, invest more in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) which has the potential to improve efficiency in some farm work and facilitate access to markets, information and business opportunities.

FAO’s work to support youth

FAO is supporting the implementation of many programmes that target youth in rural areas. Uganda, for example, has adopted FAO’s Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools methodology, funded by Norway, Sweden and Belgium. This simple but efficient program teaches vulnerable children and young people about farming and management skills.

In Nigeria, FAO is supporting the design of the National Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme; and FAO and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) have joined forces to increase jobs and business opportunities for young people in rural areas of Benin, Cameroon, Malawi and Niger through a $4 million grant made available by the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund.

The conference outcomes will be presented at the Africa-EU Summit in November and will guide future work of both the European Commission and the African Union Commission.

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