Land as the nexus in youth, female unemployment and poverty reduction
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Land is regarded as the primary natural capital for both economic development and poverty reduction. In its unexploited form, land can only generate limited rent as a natural resource. As an asset, the economic value of land is an imputed value. However, for the youth, the poor and other vulnerable groups, the social value of land carries the hope of uplifting them from poverty. Globally, unemployment among the youth has brought forth the debate on how land can play a central role in mitigating one of the most intractable problems of modern society. Zimbabwe's land reform has not only addressed landlessness and crammed settlement, but has raised hopes for poverty reduction among the unemployed youth and women. For the youth, the land reform in Zimbabwe had limited direct benefit at individual level. It mainly benefitted, among others, the age groups that actively participated in the liberation war and the politically active. The land reform resulted in the resettlement of well over 260 000 individuals and families. The reform process did not, however, prioritise allocation of land to vulnerable groups such as the youth and poor. Long spells of unemployment among the youth, both male and female, have brought forth the debate on the role of agriculture in addressing youth unemployment. In developing countries, youth unemployment and poverty are covariate with landlessness. Access to land by the youth and women remains an unexplored territory with the potential to address the problems of unemployment and poverty. Although traditionally the youth become of age on marriage and in rural areas it opens up access to a piece of land for subsistence farming, there has been very little consideration of extending those ‘rights’ in accessing larger pieces of land for agriculture.