Youth engagement in rural areas was the main topic of the G20 conference “ONEWORLD No Hunger – Future of the Rural World”. Approximately 130 young people from 31 countries participated in the run-up at the Rural Future Lab. As a practical introduction, they visited agricultural operations in Potsdam-Mittelmark, Havelland and in Uckermark. They asked the following questions: How can knowledge exchange be successful in organic farming? How does agriculture work in comparison and what can countries learn from each other? Basic challenges such as financing, infrastructure, access to markets and other structural obstacles were also discussed.
On the day before the G20 conference, the young farmers and representatives from companies, associations and organisations from Africa and Germany discussed their ideas and visions. The African-German Youth Initiative (AGYI) also offered participants from the volunteer and exchange programmes of Engagement Global such as “ASA” and “weltwärts” (“out into the world”) the opportunity to take part in the event. Through exchange, AGYI promotes bilateral understanding and improves long-term prospects for young people from Germany and African countries.
Together at the Rural Future Lab, the young people developed their six requirements for the development of rural areas: From education, promoting local innovations, capacity building, empowerment and participation, urban and rural infrastructural partnerships to micro financing. These requirements should also be thought of as solutions to employing more young people in rural areas. The young people presented this in the form of an illustration to the Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr Gerd Müller, during the G20 conference. “We have the solutions. Listen to us. Together we can make rural areas attractive to young people with jobs and good infrastructure”, appealed Alfousseni Sidibe, from Mali, to the audience. And the international G20 representatives from politics, economics and civil society listened to the young people and responded enthusiastically to the proposed solutions.
With his opening speech, Dr Gerd Müller stressed the role of youth participation and the importance of new partnerships for sustainable development in rural areas. Peter Altmeier, Federal Minister for Special Affairs, also affirmed that the future of rural areas is being decided and that the solutions for each country must come from the younger generation. Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, sees the creation of jobs for the younger generation as the solution to terrorism and migration. For Nobel Laureate, Prof. Muhammad Yunus, it is important not to see young people as just job seekers but rather as young entrepreneurs with an enormous potential for innovative ideas and solutions.
The young people also carried conviction at the discussion panels in the afternoon of the G20 conference, generating more ideas for the Berlin Charter. These were presented to Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr Gerd Müller, in the evening.