Eight out of 10 of the world's working poor who live on US$1.25 per day live in rural areas, where many are caught in vulnerable employment, especially in agriculture. Flourishing rural areas are vital to regional and national development. Yet, rural economies tend to face a wide range of challenges that urban areas are more likely to overcome. These include access to transportation, sanitation and health services, and a consumer base in close proximity to support small and medium enterprise development. Women and men working in rural areas also face difficulties associated with a paucity of economic opportunities, under investment, poor infrastructure and public services, including education, and, in many cases, weak governance and underdeveloped markets.
Education, entrepreneurship, and physical and social infrastructure all play an important role in developing rural regions. Skills are central to improving employability and livelihood opportunities, reducing poverty, enhancing productivity and promoting environmentally sustainable development.