A green transition could create 8.4 million jobs for young people by 2030 according to a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) that is being highlighted on International Youth Day. Green jobs are described as jobs that contribute to preserving or restoring the environment.
In the lead-up to the SDG Summit in September, marking the halfway point for implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN is calling on young people to be better equipped to deal with these new green opportunities through skills and training programmes.
The UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has already been implementing this idea by funding youth hubs in 9 countries across Africa to give young people skills that they need to convert into sustainable jobs. These young women in Abeokuta in Nigeria are busy growing vegetables in specially created polytunnels. They say they feel fortunate to have found a job and a steady income.With youth unemployment rates standing at 13 percent in Nigeria, millions of young people struggle to find work. Nearly half of Nigerians live in rural areas.
With poor job prospects in these areas, young people are high among those who migrate to already overcrowded cities in search of work Projects like this one, that use green smart technology, are designed to create sustainable job opportunities in the countryside.The UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development or IFAD is working with local governments to fund youth hubs, which provide rural young people with on-the-job training through apprenticeships.
The agribusiness youth hubs are based on the idea that training alone cannot unlock the employment potential for young people. Instead they also connect them to private companies and enterprises and help give them access to goods and services and training in areas such as commodity value chains and post-harvest management, which otherwise they would find difficult to access.” Youth hubs are currently operating in 9 countries across the continent including Nigeria, Algeria and Cameroon. Rahul Antao IFAD’s technical specialist on Youth says the agribusiness hubs play a vital role in tackling the huge issue of mass unemployment among young people in rural areas.
He said, “So, the focus of hubs is addressing the mismatches and gaps between the supply of youth skills and the demands of labour markets. It also focuses on building the capacity of entrepreneual youth to either start up or expand existing enterprise.”
So far, the hubs have trained and found jobs for over 9000 rural youth in more than 2255 enterprises across Africa. To meet the growing demand in green economies, the hubs invest strategically in training in digitization, green skills and renewable energies.