“Stop Calling Me a Youth!”: Understanding and Analysing Heterogeneity Among Ugandan Youth Agripreneurs

The African “youth” population is growing at a fast and steady pace, attracting attention from scholars, policymakers, and politicians. Yet, we know relatively little about this large and heterogeneous segment of the population. This paper by Maya Turolla e.a. presents data from 110 interviews and ten focus groups with youth engaged in commercial agriculture across all four regions of Uganda. Capitalising on this ethnographic data, the authors provide an analytical framework for studying complexity among the heterogeneous social category of youth agripreneurs. The aim of the paper is twofold: First, to reconcile anthropological studies that highlight the heterogeneity of African youth with demographic understandings of youth as a statistical category defined by an age bracket. Second, to advance an operational definition of youth that allows for more context-sensitive and tailored programmes. The results suggest that while “youth” is an important category demographically, the opportunities and challenges faced by youths are often not related to age.

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This article appeared in GIGA Africa Spectrum, SAGE Journals (2022). Hamburg: German Institute of Area and Global Studies.

Author(s) / editor(s)

Maya Turolla, Haley Swedlund, Marc Schut, Perez Muchunguzi

Date, time and location

12 June 2022

About the author(s) / editor(s)

Dr Maya Turolla is a social and political scientist, specialised in youth employment and entrepreneurship in Africa. As a Knowledge Manager at INCLUDE, Maya is responsible for creating and sustaining synergies between policy makers, civil society, scientists and experts to improve youth employment in Africa, within the joint initiative with IDRC and ILO ‘Boosting Decent Employment for Africa’s Youth’.




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