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Report

IDS Evidence Report 81

Understanding ‘Urban Youth’ and the Challenges they face in Sub-Saharan Africa: Unemployment, Food Insecurity and Violent Crime

Published on 1 June 2014

Much of Africa is urbanising fast and its young population is projected to constitute the largest labour force in the world. While urbanisation can be linked closely with economic development, we also know that it is the least developed countries that have younger populations than the rest of the world.

This duality implies that understanding the nature of risks and vulnerabilities faced by urban youth, how they are impacted by them, as well as how they respond to and may be resilient against them, continue to be important questions for furthering development in sub-Saharan Africa. A key conceptual debate surrounds how the category of ‘youth’ is understood, as several definitions of the term exist, ranging from age bands to social or cultural framings.

In this paper we look to review how the various definitions of ‘youth’ relate to three dominant discourses about poverty and vulnerability in urbanising Africa:

  1. food insecurity;
  2. unemployment/joblessness; and 
  3. violence/insecurity.

By doing so, we seek to identify if and when these are responsive to youth needs and practical in terms of policy efforts aiming to reduce poverty and vulnerability in urban areas.

Cite this publication

Gupte, J.; te Lintelo, D. and Barnett, I. (2014) Understanding ‘Urban Youth’ and the Challenges they face in Sub-Saharan Africa: Unemployment, Food Insecurity and Violent Crime, IDS Evidence Report 81, Brighton: IDS

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Authors

Image of Jaideep Gupte
Jaideep Gupte

Research Fellow and Cities Cluster Co-Leader

Image of Dolf J.H. te Lintelo
Dolf J.H. te Lintelo

Research Fellow and Cities Cluster Co-Leader

Image of Inka Barnett
Inka Barnett

Research Fellow

Publication details

published by
IDS
authors
Gupte, J., te Lintelo, D. and Barnett, I.
journal
IDS Evidence Report, issue 81
language
English

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Programmes and centres
Addressing and mitigating violence

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