Remaking Africa's informal economies: youth, entrepreneurship and the promise of inclusion at the bottom of the pyramid

Rajak, Dinah and Dolan, Catherine (2016) Remaking Africa's informal economies: youth, entrepreneurship and the promise of inclusion at the bottom of the pyramid. The Journal of Development Studies, 52 (4). pp. 514-529. ISSN 0022-0388

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Abstract

In recent years, the quest for 'inclusive markets' that incorporate Africa's youth has become a key focus of national and international development efforts, with so-called bottom of the pyramid (BoP) initiatives increasingly seen as a way to draw the continent's poor into new networks of global capitalism. SSA has become a fertile frontier for such systems, as capital sets its sights on the continents vast 'under-served' informal economies, harnessing the entrepreneurial mettle of youth to create new markets for a range of products, from solar lanterns and shampoo to cook stoves and sanitary pads. Drawing on ethnographic research with youth entrepreneurs, we trace the prcesses of individual and collective 'transformation' that the mission of (self-) empowerment through entrepreneurship seeks to bring about. We argue that, while such systems are meant to bring those below the poverty line above it, the 'line' is reified and reinforced through a range of discursive and strategic practices that actively construct and embed distinctions between the past and the future, valuable and valueless, and the idle and productive in Africa's informal economies.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Youth, Entrepreneurship, inclusive business, Africa, Informality
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
H Social Sciences
Depositing User: Medeni Fordham
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2015 13:11
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2017 01:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/55052

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