Rural Youths, Child Sex Traffickers, and Other Reports

Every week, collate reports on development issues in rural Africa and its environs.

This report includes some of our top picks from recent must-read research, interviews, blogs, and in-depth articles, carefully selected to help you keep up with global issues.

Here are some of the updates you may have missed from the previous week:

Child Sex Traffickers Turn to Rural Areas, Internet for Business

Working undercover in bars and brothels across Southeast Asia to combat child sex slavery, campaigner Kevin Campbell has posed many times as a tourist looking to buy sex with a girl.

But these days, Campbell, who works for the anti-trafficking group The Exodus Road, says it is far less common to see young girls for sale in sex tourism hotspots in cities, as child sex traffickers turn to out-of-the-way places – and the internet.

“Three or four years ago I could walk into…sex tourism areas and you could see girls that were 14, 15 years old very easily,” said Campbell, vice president of global operations at U.S.-based The Exodus Road, which helps local authorities rescue children sold into forced prostitution.

Creating opportunities for rural youth is more urgent than ever

To raise the demand for labour and services, the paper stresses the importance of supporting rural businesses and “agripreneurs”, making agricultural products more profitable and raising overall productivity.

IFAD’s president summed it up when he said that “a smallholder will not invest in building production if there is no access to markets and no hope of selling a marketable surplus. Similarly, the private sector also will not invest if the risk seems too high. So it is important for governments and development institutions to invest in smallholders, but also to de-risk investment by others.” The burgeoning worldwide demand for food, and a shift in consumption to higher value products, are creating new job opportunities in production, distribution, processing and related services.

The Field Report: Sub-Saharan Africa’s Rural-Urban Migration            

The continent’s population of roughly 1.1 billion is expected to double by 2050. Africa’s youth population (15-24 years) is growing faster than any other region. About 70 per cent of the continent is under 30.

The fast pace of urbanization, combined with a growing “youth bulge” – especially the high proportion of young people with few job prospects – is a major risk factor for instability in the region.

In rural areas, the challenges for Africa’s young women and men are particularly complex.

Constraints on access to land, natural resources, finance, technology, knowledge, information and education make it difficult for young rural people to make a living and contribute to the local economy.

On the Cancer Trail in Rural Kwazulu-Natal

Nurse Carmell Smith examines a patient as part of CANSA’s mobile cervical cancer screening unit that canvasses areas of rural KwaZulu-Natal when funding allows. (Joan van Dyk)

South Africa’s cervical cancer treatment guidelines show the five-year survival rate of cancers diagnosed early ranges between 75 and 95%. Although the government has implemented measures to ensure early detection and prevention, some patients still slip through the cracks at overburdened primary healthcare facilities.

Cancer care for diagnosed patients in the province is on the verge of collapse. As of June, the province has only two public-sector oncologists left, both working at Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg. A probe by the South African Human Rights Commission, released just after the last specialist left, found waiting lists for treatment stretched between eight and 10 months. Long-awaited appointments are often rescheduled when treatment machines break periodically. The report found that there were no functioning machines at Addington Hospital in Durban between August 2014 and March 2016. This further increased backlogs, with patients being transferred to be treated on one of only three working machines at Albert Luthuli Central Hospital.

Farming and rural non-farm activities can provide solutions to rising youth unemployment in Africa

Although ten to 12 million young people join the labor force in Africa each year, only around three million jobs are created annually.

In this context, the agricultural sector as well as rural non-farm activities in tourism, agro-industries, food storage and transportation have high potential to create more and better jobs, and build stronger rural communities.

“Investing in rural transformation and reaching a world free of hunger and malnutrition go hand in hand. Promoting better education, skills development and decent employment is vital for this transformation in Africa,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, who is part of a group of world leaders at the high level forum, sharing experiences and best practice in creating and expanding employment and economic opportunities for Africa’s youth.

Rural Women Farmers Across Africa to Converge in Abuja

Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, will from Monday, September 25, play host to rural women farmers from more than 15 countries on the continent.

Delegates are expected from Ghana, Senegal, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Burundi and Rwanda.

Other countries expected to attend are; Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Gambia, and Cameroun.

ActionAid International is hosting the program under its Rural Women Farmers Forum (RWFF), which is a leadership capacity building training and planning meeting.

Opinion: Africa’s must-do, can-do decade

The threat posed by climate change hangs heavily over countries where agriculture remains the primary employer. Africa needs to apply and develop green technologies and channel investments into resource efficiency and clean energy. These investments can lower the cost of bringing power to rural areas, while contributing to global efforts to mitigate climate change.

Africa must industrialize, and it must do so in a socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable manner.

IFAD and African Farmers Carve Giant Message for Agriculture Investments into their Fields

Despite the need for increased support to sustainable agricultural development to achieve SDGs 1 (end poverty) and SDG 2 (zero hunger), investments in agriculture have been on the decline. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has launched an innovative campaign to raise awareness of the need to reverse this trend.

The recent publication of the 2017 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report has alerted the global community of the danger of a trend reversal in combating hunger as 2016 saw the first increase in the number of hungry people in a decade. To raise awareness of the role that investments play in reducing hunger and poverty, IFAD and a group of farmers from Kasama, Zambia, prepared a giant ‘Field Report,’ carving the case for increased investments into the very soil that is the foundation for reducing poverty and hunger in Africa.


Busayo Sotunde is a prolific writer with special focus on Business, Entrepreneurship, Reproductive Health and other development issues in Africa. Her articles have been published by different outlets including Investing Port and She has a penchant for reading and sustainable development. Follow Busayo on Twitter @BusayomiSotunde

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