An assessment of the nexus between youth livelihoods and urban poverty in slum communities: the case of aboabo and Ayigya Zongo in Kumasi

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September, 2015
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Currently, slum dwellers make up about 43 percent of Ghana’s urban population with a huge proportion being youth. With youth migrating to cities to live and work, the face of urbanisation is now a young one. Although existing literature on slum and their impacts on youth have largely focused on the negative effects of the dire economic conditions and inadequate basic services, there are recent empirical evidences in Ghana of positive social, economic and improved wellbeing of youth who find themselves in slums. This multi directional and mixed outcome of urban poverty on youth livelihoods provides a gap for investigation. Drawing on structured and semi-structured questionnaires completed by 388 slum youth in Aboabo and Ayigya Zongo communities located Kumasi (Ghana’s second largest urban city), the study examines whether or not there is a relationship between urban poverty and youth livelihoods in slum communities. The study reveals that, the livelihoods of youth as well as multidimensional poverty characteristics prevalent in these communities could be understood in the light of the Sustainable Livelihood Framework and the subculture of poverty theory (that poverty is transmitted generationally). This is important because of the extensive studies and debate over the extent to which slum youth livelihoods are influenced by the perpetuation of poverty in the slum environment. The study realised that 42.6 percent of respondents employed in the private informal sector were mainly business activities inherited from their parents whiles the highest education level of parents were positively correlated to the educational levels of youth and also influenced how much youth earned monthly. The findings of this study advance existing knowledge by not only linking non-monetary poverty to slum growth in Ghana but by also demonstrates that multiple forms of poverty takes place concurrently in the slum environment. In view of the findings, some recommendations were made. Firstly, the acknowledgement of the slum residents with a ‘right to the city’ is crucial to their participation in the urban economy. Secondly, adjustment in business registration procedures is vital to formalize the informal enterprises of youth in slums. Thirdly, the sustained pursuit of participatory slum upgrading programmes with inputs from all city governance stakeholders and finally collaboration of the Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies with other relevant institutions to provide basic services such as refuse bins, regular power supply and access routes/roads to slum dwellers
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) Planning,