In recent years, more and more stakeholders have been taking an interest in the issue of ‘rural youth’ in West Africa. This body of work portrays a contradictory image of rural youths, who are shown as both an immense potential for countries’ futures and as a source of deep tension and instability (unemployment, under-employment, crime, etc.). Another paradox is that rural youths are facing difficult job prospects while at the same time small farmers’ organisations are worried about the continuation of their activities because there is no one to take over. This brief addresses the major issues evoked today when the ‘problem’ of rural youths is raised. The realities facing rural youths are diverse, but usually difficult. Faced with these constraints, what solutions are being considered? Agriculture is often touted as the main solution to the rural youth ‘problem’. Is it really? If not, what alternatives are there?