International Development Planning Review

Weaving in and out of employment and self-employment: young rural migrants in the informal economy of Ouagadougou

International Development Planning Review (2013), 35, (2), 203–218.

Abstract

This paper explores how young men of rural origin weave a resource base for social mobility in the urban informal economy by combining strings of employment, strands of entrepreneurship and continued migration. The paper is based on ethnographic material on migrants aged between 14-25 years in Ouagadougou and Abidjan between 2005 and 2008, and draws on three extended case studies to show how young migrants' social position in the network of kin shapes their navigation of urban economies. The paper argues that young Bisa migrants enjoy a large degree of economic autonomy from their early teens onwards, which is agreed upon in both rural and urban households. This autonomy permits them to spend their savings on themselves, but erodes their economic standing, because they have to meet their own basic consumption needs.

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AGARWAL, S., ATTAH, M., APT, N., GRIECO, M., KWAKYE, E. A. AND TURNER, J. (1997), ‘Bearing the weight: the kayayoo, Ghana's working girl child’, International Social Work, 40, 245-63. ‘Bearing the weight: the kayayoo, Ghana's working girl child’ International Social Work 40 245 63 Google Scholar

ANDERSSON, J. A. (2001), ‘Reinterpreting the rural-urban connection: migration practices and socio-cultural dispositions of Buhera workers in Harare’, Journal of the International African Institute, 71, 82-112. ‘Reinterpreting the rural-urban connection: migration practices and socio-cultural dispositions of Buhera workers in Harare’ Journal of the International African Institute 71 82 112 Google Scholar

ARYEETEY, E. B. D., DOH, D. and ANDOH, P. (2013), ‘Choosing an apprenticeship: skills preferences among the youth’, International Development Planning Review, 34, 135-53. ‘Choosing an apprenticeship: skills preferences among the youth’ International Development Planning Review 34 135 53 Google Scholar

AWUMBILA, M. AND ARDAYFIO-SCHANDORF, E. (2008), ‘Gendered poverty, migration and livelihood strategies of female porters in Accra, Ghana’, Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift - Norwegian Journal of Geography, 62, 171-79. ‘Gendered poverty, migration and livelihood strategies of female porters in Accra, Ghana’ Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift - Norwegian Journal of Geography 62 171 79 Google Scholar

BASS, L. E. (2000), ‘Enlarging the street and negotiating the curb: public space at the edge of an African market’, The International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 20, 74-95. ‘Enlarging the street and negotiating the curb: public space at the edge of an African market’ The International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 20 74 95 Google Scholar

BOERSCH-SUPAN, J. (2012), ‘The generational contract in flux: intergenerational tensions in postconflict Sierra Leone’, Journal of Modern African Studies, 50, 25-51. ‘The generational contract in flux: intergenerational tensions in postconflict Sierra Leone’ Journal of Modern African Studies 50 25 51 Google Scholar

BORDONARO, L. (2009), ‘Sai fora: youth, disconnectedness and aspiration to mobility in the Bijagó Islands (Guinea-Bissau)’, Etnográfica, 13, 125-44. ‘Sai fora: youth, disconnectedness and aspiration to mobility in the Bijagó Islands (Guinea-Bissau)’ Etnográfica 13 125 44 Google Scholar

CARSTEN, J. (2000), ‘Introduction: cultures of relatedness’, in J. Carsten (ed.), Cultures of Relatedness. New Approaches to the Study of Kinship, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1-36. Cultures of Relatedness. New Approaches to the Study of Kinship 1 36 Google Scholar

DE BRUIJN, M., VAN DIJK, R. AND FOEKEN, D. (2001), ‘Mobile Africa: an introduction’, in M. De Bruijn, R. Van Dijk and D. Foeken (eds), Mobile Africa. Changing Patterns of Mobility in Africa and Beyond, Leiden, Brill, 1-7. Mobile Africa. Changing Patterns of Mobility in Africa and Beyond 1 7 Google Scholar

DOTTRIDGE, M. (2011), Exploring Methods to Protect Children on the Move. A Handbook for Organisations Wanting to Prevent Child Trafficking, Exploitation and the Worst Forms of Child Labour, Lausanne, Terre des Hommes International Federation, http://www.terredeshommes.org/pdf/handbook/handbook_children_on_the_move.pdf (accessed 3 November 2011). http://www.terredeshommes.org/pdf/handbook/handbook_children_on_the_move.pdf Exploring Methods to Protect Children on the Move. A Handbook for Organisations Wanting to Prevent Child Trafficking, Exploitation and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Google Scholar

GUGLER, J. (2002), ‘The son of the hawk does not remain abroad: the urban-rural connection in Africa’, African Studies Review, 45, 21-41. ‘The son of the hawk does not remain abroad: the urban-rural connection in Africa’ African Studies Review 45 21 41 Google Scholar

GUICHAOUA, Y. (2006), Non-Protected Labour in one West African Capital: Characteristics of Jobs and Occupational Mobility in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, Oxford, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford, http://ideas.repec.org/p/qeh/qehwps/qehwps132.html (accessed 11 July 2006). http://ideas.repec.org/p/qeh/qehwps/qehwps132.html Non-Protected Labour in one West African Capital: Characteristics of Jobs and Occupational Mobility in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire Google Scholar

GUYER, J. (1988), ‘Dynamic approaches to domestic budgeting: cases and methods from Africa’, in D. Dwyer and J. Bruce (eds), A Home Divided. Women and Income in the Third World, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 155-72. A Home Divided. Women and Income in the Third World 155 72 Google Scholar

HANSEN, K. T. (2008), ‘Introduction: youth and the city’, in K. T. Hansen, A. L. Dalsgaard, K. V. Gough, U. A. Madsen, K. Valentin and N. Wildermuth (eds), Youth and the City in the Global South, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 3-23. Youth and the City in the Global South 3 23 Google Scholar

HASHIM, I. M. (2007), ‘Independent child migration and education in Ghana’, Development and Change, 38, 911-31. ‘Independent child migration and education in Ghana’ Development and Change 38 911 31 Google Scholar

HASHIM, I. M. AND THORSEN, D. (2011), Child Migrants in Africa, London, Zed Books. Child Migrants in Africa Google Scholar

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH (2007), Bottom of the Ladder. Exploitation and Abuse of Girl Domestic Workers in Guinea, New York, Human Rights Watch. Google Scholar

ILO (INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION) (2002), Combat the Trafficking of Children, Geneva, International Labour Organization http://www.ilo.org/ipecinfo/product/download.do?type=document&id=767 Google Scholar

ILO (INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION) (2010a), Accelerating Action against Child Labour. Global Report under the Follow-Up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, Geneva, International Labour Organization http://www.ilo.org/ipecinfo/product/download.do?type=document&id=767 Google Scholar

ILO (INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION) (2010b), Accelerating Action against Child Labour. Global Report under the Follow-Up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights to Work, Geneva, International Labour Organization http://www.ilo.org/ipecinfo/product/download.do?type=document&id=767 Google Scholar

ILO (INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION) (2012), Global Employment Trends for Youth 2012, Geneva, International Labour Organization http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—dgreports/—dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_180976.pdf Google Scholar

JACQUEMIN, M. Y. (2004), ‘Children's domestic work in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. The petites bonnes have the floor’, Childhood, 11, 383-97. ‘Children's domestic work in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. The petites bonnes have the floor’ Childhood 11 383 97 Google Scholar

JACQUEMIN, M. Y. (2009), ‘"Petites nièces" et "petite bonnes" à Abidjan. Les mutations de la domesticité juvénile’, Travail, Genre et Sociétés, 53-74. ‘"Petites nièces" et "petite bonnes" à Abidjan. Les mutations de la domesticité juvénile’ Travail, Genre et Sociétés 53 74 Google Scholar

KRISTENSEN, S. AND BIRCH-THOMSEN, T. (2013), ‘Should I stay or should I go? Youth and rural employment in Uganda and Zambia’, International Development Planning Review, 34, 175-201. ‘Should I stay or should I go? Youth and rural employment in Uganda and Zambia’ International Development Planning Review 34 175 201 Google Scholar

LANGEVANG, T. (2008), ‘Claiming place: the production of young men's street meeting places in Accra, Ghana’, Geografiska annaler. Series B, Human Geography, 90, 227-42. ‘Claiming place: the production of young men's street meeting places in Accra, Ghana’ Geografiska annaler. Series B, Human Geography 90 227 42 Google Scholar

LANGEVANG, T. AND GOUGH, K. V. (2009), ‘Surviving through movement: the mobility of urban youth in Ghana’, Social & Cultural Geography, 10, 741-56. ‘Surviving through movement: the mobility of urban youth in Ghana’ Social & Cultural Geography 10 741 56 Google Scholar

NIEUWENHUYS, O. (1996), ‘The paradox of child labor and anthropology’, Annual Review of Anthropology, 25, 237-51. ‘The paradox of child labor and anthropology’ Annual Review of Anthropology 25 237 51 Google Scholar

OLWIG, M. F. AND GOUGH, K. V. (2013), ‘Basket weaving and social weaving: young Ghanaian artisans’ mobilization of resources through mobility in times of climate change', Geoforum, 45, 168-77. ‘Basket weaving and social weaving: young Ghanaian artisans’ mobilization of resources through mobility in times of climate change' Geoforum 45 168 77 Google Scholar

OMOKHODION, F. O. AND UCHENDU, O. C. (2009), ‘Perception and practice of child labour among parents of school-aged children in Ibadan, southwest Nigeria’, Child: Care, Health and Development, 36, 304-8. ‘Perception and practice of child labour among parents of school-aged children in Ibadan, southwest Nigeria’ Child: Care, Health and Development 36 304 8 Google Scholar

SAVE THE CHILDREN (2009), Ça-là, c'est Difficile. L'Exploitation du Travail des Enfants en Côte d'Ivoire, Abidjan, Save the Children UK Côte d'Ivoire (in collaboration with Save the Children Sweden d'Ivoire) http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/temp/scuk/cache/cmsattach/411_childwork.pdf Google Scholar

SCHILDKROUT, E. (2002), ‘Age and gender in Hausa society. Socio-economic roles of children in urban Kano’, Childhood, 9, 344-68. ‘Age and gender in Hausa society. Socio-economic roles of children in urban Kano’ Childhood 9 344 68 Google Scholar

TERRE DES HOMMES (2010), Saly, Grande Sœur, Lausane, Délégation du Burkina Faso, Fondation Terre des Hommes http://www.tdh.ch/fr/documents/les-filles-domestiques-au-burkinafaso-traite-ou-migration-analyse-de-la-migration-laborieuse-des-enfants-de-la-province-du-sourou-au-burkina-faso Google Scholar

THORSEN, D. (2006), ‘Child migrants in transit. Strategies to become adult in rural Burkina Faso’, in C. Christiansen, M. Utas and H. E. Vigh (eds), Navigating Youth, Generating Adulthood: Social Becoming in an African Context, Uppsala, Nordic Africa Institute, 88-114. Navigating Youth, Generating Adulthood: Social Becoming in an African Context 88 114 Google Scholar

THORSEN, D. (2007), ‘Junior-senior linkages. Youngsters’ perceptions of migration in rural Burkina Faso', in H. P. Hahn and G. Klute (eds), Cultures of Migration. African Perspectives, Berlin, Lit Verlag, 175-99. Cultures of Migration. African Perspectives 175 99 Google Scholar

THORSEN, D. (2009), ‘From shackles to links in the chain. Theorising adolescent boys’ relocation in Burkina Faso', Forum for Development Studies, 36, 81-107. ‘From shackles to links in the chain. Theorising adolescent boys’ relocation in Burkina Faso' Forum for Development Studies 36 81 107 Google Scholar

UNICEF (UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN'S FUND) (2003), Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children in Africa, Florence, Innocenti Research Centre http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/insight9e.pdf Google Scholar

UNOWA (UNITED NATIONS OFFICE FOR WEST AFRICA) (2006), Youth Unemployment and Regional Insecurity in West Africa, Dakar, United Nations Office for Africa http://www.iydd.org/documents/iydd_docs/unemployment-insecurity%5B1%5D.pdf Google Scholar

VAN DE GLIND, H. (2010), Migration and Child Labour. Exploring Child Migrant Vulnerabilities and those of Children Left Behind, Geneva, International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), International Labour Organization, http://www.ilo.org/ipecinfo/product/down load.do?type=document&id=14313 (accessed 29 March 2012). http://www.ilo.org/ipecinfo/product/download.do?type=document&id=14313 Migration and Child Labour. Exploring Child Migrant Vulnerabilities and those of Children Left Behind Google Scholar

VIGH, H. E. (2006), ‘Social death and violent life chances’, in C. Christiansen, M. Utas and H. E. Vigh (eds), Navigating Youth, Generating Adulthood: Social Becoming in an African Context, Uppsala, Nordic Africa Institute, 31-60. Navigating Youth, Generating Adulthood: Social Becoming in an African Context 31 60 Google Scholar

WHITEHEAD, A. (1984), ‘"I'm hungry, mum": the politics of domestic budgeting’, in K. Young, C. Wolkowitz and R. Mccullagh (eds), Of Marriage and the Market, 2nd edn., London, Routledge. Of Marriage and the Market Google Scholar

WHITEHEAD, A. (1994), ‘Wives and mothers: female farmers in Africa’, in A. Adepoju and C. Oppong (eds), Gender, Work and Population in sub-Saharan Africa, London, ILO, 35-53. Gender, Work and Population in sub-Saharan Africa 35 53 Google Scholar

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Thorsen, Dorte