n Institute of African Studies Research Review - Child labour, education, participation and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa : an empirical study

Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0855-4412



Child labour is a complex socio-economic problem for the countries in the developing world. While the ILO publication on Global Child Labour Trends 2000 to 2004 exhibited a secular decline in the number of child labourers aged 5-17 years globally from 2000 to 2004, the number of child workers actually increased in Sub-Saharan Africa from 48.0 million to 49.3 million over the same period. This calls for serious introspection. The present study examines the interaction between child labour, education participation and per capita economic growth for Sub-Saharan Africa in a holistic framework using two-stage least squares (2SLS) regression model and dummy variables to capture the regional and income classifications. The results show that per capita GDP growth rate, public expenditure on education as percentage of GDP, net primary enrollment ratio and percentage of children reaching grade 5 in school are inversely related with the incidence of children's labour force participation, while total fertility rate which reflects population growth, is positively related with child labour. Finally, that child labour is a serious impediment for improved economic performance of the region is reaffirmed from the fact that child labour participation has a negative effect on per capita GDP growth rate for the region as a whole and individually for each of the Southern, Western and Middle African countries. The results suggest that since the problem across Sub-Saharan Africa is closely linked to the region's poverty, it can only be reduced with higher balanced economic growth that increases family incomes and children's educational opportunities.

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