Accepted Paper:

Dimensions of and solutions to youth inequality in the Global South: The case of South Africa  


Admire Nyamwanza (Human Sciences Research Council)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores features driving youth inequality in the Global South, focusing on South Africa. Using a political economy lens, it analyses the nature and consequences of youth inequality in South Africa, suggesting recommendations for solutions and drawing lessons for the Global South at large

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores the main features driving youth inequality in the Global South and solutions to this problem using the specific case of South Africa. South Africa has one of the highest inequality rates in the world, a problem that cuts across economic, generational, racial, gender and spatial aspects. This paper zeroes in on the generational aspect in analysis. Interestingly, generational inequality intersects with all the other named aspects such that the concentration of poverty in the country predominantly lies with black youths and young black women in rural areas. With youth constituting the biggest age-category of South Africa's population, the issue of youth inequality and associated problems has remained at the centre stage in policy-making, civil society and academic circles for most of the post-apartheid era. Using a political economy lens, this paper discusses the causes, nature and trends of various youth inequality dimensions in South Africa over the years. A key focus of the paper is on how youth inequality has linked with and perpetuated specific youth concerns like persistent high youth unemployment, limited youth land rights and constricting opportunities for entrepreneurial activities among young people. It also analyses policy and legislative initiatives instituted to deal with the problem over the years. The paper ultimately suggests recommendations for progressive and inclusive interventions focused on stimulating youth economic participation, expanding youth land rights and opening up entrepreneurial opportunities for young people in the country going forward, drawing lessons for solutions to youth inequality in the Global South at large.

Panel L01
The dynamics of youth inequalities: aspirations, agency and multidimensional poverty (Paper)