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Child Labour in Africa

Listed author(s):
  • Sonia Bhalotra

This paper presents an overview of child labour in Africa. It discusses the incidence and nature of child labour, possible causes, and actual and potential policy instruments. It answers some questions and raises others. Africa has the highest incidence of child labour in the world. While child labour has been declining in Asia and Latin America, economic decline, war, famine and HIV/AIDS have combined to prevent this in Africa. Contrary to the popular image of child labour in factories managed by Dickensian employers, the overwhelming majority of working children in Africa are employed on household-run farms and enterprises. Recent theoretical and policy-level discussion has neglected to recognise the implications of this fact. Thus, for example, considerable attention has been dedicated to consideration of the impact on child labour of minimum wages or trade sanctions when, given the nature of work performed by most children in Africa (and, indeed, by the majority in other ... Le présent document donne une vision d’ensemble du travail des enfants en Afrique. On y examine l’incidence et la nature de ce travail, les causes possibles de ce phénomène, ainsi que les instruments en place ou potentiels d’action des pouvoirs publics dans ce domaine. En Afrique, l’incidence du travail des enfants est supérieure à celle que l’on observe dans n’importe quelle autre région du monde. Si le taux d’activité des enfants a diminué en Asie et en Amérique latine, la conjonction du marasme économique, des guerres, des famines et de la pandémie VIH/sida a empêché l’Afrique d’évoluer dans la même direction. Contrairement à l’image que l’on se fait habituellement des enfants travaillant dans des usines dirigées par des patrons tout droit sortis des romans de Charles Dickens, l’écrasante majorité des petits travailleurs africains sont employés dans des exploitations agricoles ou des entreprises familiales. Sur le plan théorique comme sur celui de l’action des pouvoirs ...

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers with number 4.

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Date of creation: 28 Apr 2003
Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:4-en
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