By Akanimo Sampson
A research finding has uncovered why unemployment and mass poverty is worsening in Nigeria and most other countries of Africa.
Damning research conducted in Nigeria is showing that the absence of an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in rural areas is fueling the issue of unemployment and poverty in Africa.
The rising tide of rural-urban migration amongst youth in the continent is being associated with the incidence of poverty.
The major reason for this rural-urban youth migration is, however, attributed to unemployment.
The recent study funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), under the Enhancing Capacity to Apply Research Evidence (CARE) in Policy for Youth Engagement in Agribusiness and Rural Economic Activities in Africa project, focuses on rural-urban migration profile of youths in Nigeria, and the impacts on the welfare of the rural households, governments, and stakeholders in Nigeria.
A research fellow under the CARE project, Oluwaseun Oginni, states that governments and development partners must consider and embrace the creation of an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in the rural areas in a bid to help with addressing the issue of unemployment and poverty.
According to the research finding, while many youths are leaving the rural areas because of unemployment, they see agriculture as a poor man’s job.
The study proffers solutions that will help governments, together with development partners, address the challenge of unemployment in rural areas and migration to urban areas.
Oginni lists creating awareness on professionalization of agricultural activities and making it less of “hard work, low paid job” and more of a “profit-making business”, with access to services and resources such as improved varieties and new technologies to increase productivity, as part of measures to mitigate this challenge.
The study also shows that rural-urban migration of youth causes household farm income to be reduced considerably as a result of a shortage in family labor and an increase in the cost of hired labor.
Oginni suggests that the government of Nigeria, where the study was carried out, can unlock the potential of rural development by creating an infrastructure that is directly related to private-sector development.
This can be achieved through measures such as building roads to facilitate market access, promoting a labor force through vocational training, and building technical capacity targeted at increasing the skills of the local labor force.
The study recommends access to finance and providing training on credit utilization that can have a positive influence on their farming activities.
According to the study, despite the importance of remittances to average households, and with migrant youth a little bit more educated than those that did not migrate, only a few households are receiving it since most youths are not gainfully employed in the cities.
Focusing on the rural-urban migration profile of youth in Nigeria and its impact on the welfare of the rural households, the research states that the government of Nigeria and development partners should consider and embrace the creation of an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in the rural areas.
According to the study, with access to services and resources such as improved varieties and new technologies to increase productivity and efficiency, sensitisation on the prospect of agribusiness while creating an enabling environment for agribusiness activities, youth will make use of these to become more involved in agriculture as a major source of livelihood in rural areas thereby addressing rural-urban migration.