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Youth and the Work/Housing Nexus in Ethiopia and South Africa

How are young people in Ethiopia and South Africa experiencing the work/housing nexus and what are the implications of that for urban sustainability?

Youth in Ethiopia and South Africa experience high unemployment and lack affordable housing. Ethiopia recently invested in Africa’s largest industrial complex in Hawassa, yet low wages and scarce housing prohibits sustainable futures for young workers. Labour turnover is very high. In South Africa, wavering historic investment in Bronkhorstspruit, a former industrial decentralisation site, has led to high youth unemployment. Successful provision of state housing means some youth are housed, but cannot afford living costs. Faced with this problem, youth respond creatively to manage these fluid conditions. The relationship between youth, work and housing is under-theorised, particularly in terms of youth and state/private sector’s responses. Focusing on two cases of state intervention, this project seeks to examine the youth work/housing nexus, asking how this nexus is experienced, what are the key challenges, what are the responses of youth and state/private sector actors, and what are the implications for youth futures and urban sustainability.

Research team: Dr Paula Meth, University of Sheffield; Dr Tom Goodfellow, University of Sheffield; Professor Sarah Charlton, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; Dr Margot Rubin, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; Dr Tafesse Matev Karo, Hawassa University, Ethiopia; Dr Eshetayehu Kinfu, Hawassa University, Ethiopia

Project part of

Youth Futures

This programme aims to examine the contributions of young people to the UN’s 2030 Agenda, bringing a youth lens to the global sustainable development challenges.

International

We foster international collaboration in the humanities and social sciences, and promote the sharing of international perspectives on global challenges.