Explaining the high incidence of child labour in Sub-Saharan Africa

University of Bonn, Germany
African Development Review (Impact Factor: 0.4). 12/2002; 14(2). DOI: 10.1111/1467-8268.00054
Source: OAI

ABSTRACT There has been a growing interest on the issue of child labour among the academic and professional circles in recent times. Estimates show that the number of under-aged working children in Africa could reach some 100 million in the next 10-15 years, posing serious challenges to African policy-makers. Little is known about the likely causes for the rise in child labour in Africa. The lack of data has seriously undermined the amount and quality of research on the topic particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The intent of the. present study is to examine the link between children's labour force participation and some. macroeconomic variables using aggregated data from sub-Saharan Africa. The results show that the high incidence of child labour in sub-Saharan Africa could be explained, among other things, in terms of the high incidence of poverty, the predominance of a poorly developed agricultural sector, high fertility rates leading to high population growth, and low education participation. Contrary to some recent arguments, which questioned the direct link between poverty and child labour, the results of this study show that poverty is indeed one of the most important reasons for the high incidence of child labour in Africa. This complex problem calls for comprehensive and multi-faceted interventions including the adoption of poverty reduction strategies, introduction of labour-saving technologies for the agricultural production, an aggressive provision of primary education, and the mobilization of the communities for creating awareness.

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