In tropical Africa the rapid economic and social change of the last few years has changed and increased rural employment problems. These problems are diaracterized by growing rural unemployment, increasing urbanization and unemployment of school-leavers, and declining and changing traditional seasonal migration. The main reasons for this development are: rural population growth along with stagnant agricultural techniques, discontent among the rural population and a strong appeal of urban areas, and changes in labour organization and social security in industry and the plantation sector.

The various aspects of employment policy must be seen within the framework of African economic development. Employment planning should become an integral part of Overall economic planning. Furthermore, factors influencing employment, such as education, the food and nutritional Situation, land tenure and work techniques, must be given due weight.

The promotion of rural employment in tropical Africa requires a number of mea-sures in different fields. First of all additional employment must be created in traditional agriculture since, in view of the large number of people seeking employment, all other sectors of the economy have only a rather limited absorbing capacity. In addition to promoting traditional agriculture, several African countries have introduced agricultural settlement projects, which, among other things, are also to help increase rural employment. It seems doubtful, however, whether such projects will contribute much to the solution of this problem. The high capital investment they require could probably be more effective in the promotion of traditional agriculture or in industrialization. Other employment measures include labour Service and training programs for the youth, public works programs and voluntary labour schemes. Finally, rural industrialization plays an important role as a means of creating employment opportunities for the rural population.

While all these measures will help to improve the employment Situation in tropical Africa, experience has shown, that a lasting success can only be achieved if they are combined and applied simultaneously.


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