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Mobile rural youth in northern Ghana: combining near and distant opportunity spaces

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportBidrag til bog/antologiForskningfagfællebedømt

Young people in northern Ghana are growing up in a very different environment from their southern counterparts. While the south is the locus of the major cities, industries, and most important cash crops, the north is primarily rural with an agricultural base, much of it subsistence. This distinction between the southern core and northern periphery has a long history, stemming from when the country of Ghana came into being. Under colonial rule, the north was treated as a cheap source of labour to support the development of the export sector concentrated in the coastal port towns and in the southern forest belt where most cash crop cultivation took place (Songsore, 2003). Labour migration from the north to work on cocoa farms, in mines, and in urban areas located in the south has thus long taken place (Awumbila & Ardayfio-Schandorf, 2008). Import substitution industrialisation policies, followed by structural adjustment programmes and neoliberalism, have all contributed to increasing the inequality between the north and the south. Although Ghana has now joined the ranks of lower middle-income countries, its northern part lags behind, with 22.2% of the population living below the poverty line of US$1.25 per day (Amanor-Boadu, Zereyesus, & Asiedu-Dartey, 2013). Despite Ghana having recently crossed the threshold to being predominantly urban, the primary occupation for both men and women remains agriculture, forestry, and fishing; approaching half (45.8%) of all households are defined as agricultural households (Ghana Statistical Service, 2012). Widespread reports that young people are no longer interested in agriculture, however, and are leaving the rural areas in droves have resulted in a series of policies being introduced with the aim of getting young people to stay in rural areas and engage in farming (Okali & Sumberg, 2012). This approach, however, overlooks the range of nonfarm entrepreneurial activities that take place in rural areas (Anyidoho, Leavy, & Asenso-Okyere, 2012). The aim of this chapter is to examine the livelihood strategies of young people living in three villages near the town of Bole in the Northern Region of Ghana, looking at their farming and fishing activities, nonfarm businesses in the village, and the role of migration in business establishment. Arguably, since many of the young people have already lived outside their rural communities, rather than trying to stop them from moving, their mobility should be seen as a potential source of capital and experience, which those who return can use to invest in farming or establishing an alternative business.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TitelYoung entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa
RedaktørerKatherine Gough, Thilde Langevang
Antal sider15
UdgivelsesstedAbingdon, Oxon; New York, NY
ForlagRoutledge
Publikationsdato2016
Sider117-131
Artikelnummer8
KapitelPart III
ISBN (Trykt)978-1-138-84459-9
ISBN (Elektronisk)978-1-135-73025-7
StatusUdgivet - 2016
NavnRoutledge spaces of childhood and youth series

ID: 158576680