The World Bank has advised Kenya and other African countries to make agriculture an attractive employment sector instead of the current status where it is viewed as an occupation of last resort. It said the sector can be used to reduce unemployment among the youth and catalyse economic growth. In a report released yesterday titled 'Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa', the bank says underemployment in African countries has compelled the youth to take unproductive and low wage jobs for survival. The report says many youth have turned to agriculture as a means of escaping poverty thus limiting Africa's ability to reap the benefits of its youth dividend in future. "Agriculture is Africa's largest employer and the most immediate means of employment for young people, but this compartmentalisation could be dangerous if it persists," the report said. The report cites Kenya as one of the countries with huge employment gap, with majority of unemployed youth living in rural areas and small towns, thus making them capitalise in agriculture as its hard for them to get formal jobs. However, the report says African countries can catalyse agriculture from an occupation of last resort and low productivity to one of technical dynamism and recognised opportunity. It said the sector is currently the most immediate means of catalysing economic growth through employment. "If higher priority of public investment is accorded to accelerating the implementation of well-designed programmess and policy reforms in agriculture, agriculture will absorb the large numbers of new job seekers and offer meaningful work with large public and private benefits," says the report.
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