Investment in rural communities to boost food security and jobs for rural youth will be at the centre of talks this week between the International Fund for Agricultural Development's chief Gilbert Houngbo, Angola's president Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco and other senior Angolan officials, IFAD said on Tuesday.
“Agriculture and agroindustry have great potential to provide jobs and livelihoods,” Houngbo said on the eve of his visit to the African country from Wednesday to Friday.
Investment and support are essential help young people to find employment, Houngbo stressed.
"Empowering rural youth can be a catalyst for achieving the global development agenda and we need the energy, strength and creativity of young people to drive rural transformation and build sustainable food systems," he said.
During Houngbo’s visit, a financing agreement will be signed for a project designed to tackle food scarcity, which has been worsened by repeated drought and flooding caused by climate change.
The agriculture sector makes up just 10 percent of Angola's national income while employing nearly half (44 percent) of the population, according to IFAD.
Over half of Angola’s poor are located in rural areas and depend exclusively on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods. And while many young people aspire to better jobs than eking out an existence on the land or being fishermen, they lack the training to compete on the labour market, said IFAD.
Houngbo will meet Angola's agriculture, finance and economy ministers during his visit to discuss the role of smallholder farmers in ensuring food security in Angola, the challenge of climate change, and the opportunities agriculture can offer to rural youth, IFAD said.
Houngbo also will tour an IFAD-supported project to see first-hand how project participants have improved their lives in the provinces of Huambo and Bie, the UN agency said.
IFAD has invested 82 million dollars in seven rural development programmes and projects in Angola since 1991 at a total cost of 147.3 million dollars. The projects have directly benefitted 268,600 Angolan rural households, IFAD said.