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youth africa

NISD Thought Leaders seminar series
Speaker: James Sumberg, Emeritus Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton
Location: This event will be hybrid from ZICER 0.02, School of Global Development, UEA. The link to join the meeting virtually can be found above.

All welcome.


Over the last two decades, policy and research interest in African youth and their current and futures roles in agriculture increased dramatically. This seminar will explore the current state of play by touching on motivations, arguments, narratives, interventions and evidence. Does agriculture have a key role to play in providing employment to Africa’s ‘youth bulge’? Are rural young people ‘walking away’ from farming? Are they more ‘innovative’ than others, and faster to embrace new farming technology? Do they uniquely have the potential to ‘transform’ Africa’s agriculture? These are the kinds of questions that have framed the debate, but have these debates and associated interventions served the interests of rural young people?

Further reading

Sumberg, J. (ed). (2021). Youth and the Rural Economy in Africa: Hard Work and Hazard. Wallingford: CABI. Available here.


James Sumberg is an agriculturalist by training and has over 35 years’ experience working on small-scale farming systems and agricultural policy, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.

Over the last decade his research has focused primarily on youth and employment in rural Africa. Key concerns have been how young people engage with the rural economy, and the potential of the rural economy to provide decent jobs. A secondary but long-term research focus is knowledge politics in development-oriented agronomy.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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