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Green jobs in agrifood systems: setting a vision for youth in the Sahel

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Written by Steve Wiggins, Peter Newborne, Saadatou Sangaré, Nene Kane, Colette Benoudji, Marie Bernadette Kiebré, Mamadou Diarra

Image credit:United Nations

Populations in the G5 Sahel countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Mali and Niger – are growing rapidly.

Given these large cohorts of young populations, over the next five years 11.4 million youth will turn 16 years old, and most will then start to seek jobs in the region. Most current employment in the G5 Sahel is in agriculture. Although the countries are urbanizing, meaning that future economic growth may be faster in industry and services than in agriculture, in the short and medium run the bulk of new jobs are likely to be created in the agriculture sector and its supply chains. G5 Sahel countries should also transform their economies over the medium term to be environmentally sustainable and adapt to a changing climate, with emissions of greenhouse gases reduced to net zero in order to enter into a green transition.

For the five countries of the G5 Sahel, the study, developed with ODI in the framework of the FAO project Building resilience in the Sahel region through job creation for youth, aims to address the following questions: i) What employment can be created for youth, as agriculture and the agrifood value chains become environmentally sustainable as part of a rural green transition?; and ii) What policies, programmes and investments are needed to create these jobs and ensure that young women and men can access them?