From Margins to Centre: Relocating Youth Participation in Radical Politics of International Development

Gamel Abdul-Nasser Salifu


This paper focuses on youth participation in decision-making processes for economic growth and development. Very little is known of the effectivity of rural youth participation in the developing world. Drawing on recent empirical evidence of youth participation in economics and development research, the paper identifies the growing interest of policy makers on shorthanded interventions aimed at improving young lives. Going beyond official blueprints and the stated objectives of international development interventions, interventions have widely emphasized the mechanical aspects of projects rather than the direct impact of interventions on young beneficiaries. Understanding this is critical for development as recent projects’ high rate of failure and unintended consequences for beneficiaries continue to grow. Based on the review of over 100 documented cases of youth participation in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the paper offers a conceptual guide, reinforced by methodological suggestions for studying the representational ‘afterlives’ of development interventions. Inspired by the phenomenological works of economic development research, the paper recognizes young voices as repositories of non-hegemonic knowledge with the ability to creatively re-appropriate development legacies. While such conclusions may have been kept under relative control, they come to fore upon the termination of interventions. A grassroots-based approach aimed at studying post-intervention communities would reveal the palimpsest-like multilayers of flagship programmes across the developing world.

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International Journal of Business Administration
ISSN 1923-4007(Print) ISSN 1923-4015(Online)


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