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Brief

IDS Policy Briefing 178

Are Young People in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa Caught in Waithood?

Published on 24 May 2021

The idea that large numbers of young people in sub-Saharan Africa are stuck in waithood – trapped between childhood and adulthood – dominates international development policy discourse.

The belief is that because there are no jobs, young people cannot attain social markers of adulthood. Waithood has proved itself to be a very attractive way to frame debates and promote youth employment interventions. But research challenges two aspects of the waithood story: that young people are inactive; and that work is the only route into adulthood. Caution and nuance are required to prevent waithood becoming another catchy term that does little to improve policy.

Cite this publication

Oosterom, M. and Sumberg, J. (2021) 'Are Young People in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa Caught in Waithood?', IDS Policy Briefing 178, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/IDS.2021.039

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Authors

Image of Marjoke Oosterom

Marjoke Oosterom

Research Fellow

Image of James Sumberg

James Sumberg

Emeritus Fellow

Publication details

published by
Institute of Development Studies
doi
10.19088/IDS.2021.039
issn
1479-974X
language
English

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