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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2020

West African Youth Challenges and Opportunity Pathways

Palgrave Macmillan


  • Challenges assumptions about African youth migration within, to, and from Western Africa

  • Explores the potential of training programs aimed at preparing youth with low levels of educational attainment for income-earning opportunities in non-traditional sectors of employment

  • Sheds light on how urban school districts in the United States would benefit from more research on the heterogeneity of Black student populations, given increasing numbers of youth from West African immigrant families

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 34.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (11 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xix
  2. Introduction

    • Mora L. McLean
    Pages 1-24Open Access
  3. Migration

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 25-25
    2. Education for All: The Case of Out-of-School Migrants in Ghana

      • Daniel Owusu Kyereko
      Pages 27-52Open Access
  4. Agency and Aspirations

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 101-101
    2. Making Lives, Making Communities: Deaf Youth in Benin

      • Carsten Mildner
      Pages 131-156Open Access
  5. Vulnerability and Well-Being

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 185-185
    2. Youth Employment and Labor Market Vulnerability in Ghana: Aggregate Trends and Determinants

      • Adedeji Adeniran, Joseph Ishaku, Adekunle Yusuf
      Pages 187-211Open Access
    3. Burden, Drivers, and Impacts of Poor Mental Health in Young People of West and Central Africa: Implications for Research and Programming

      • Kenneth Juma, Frederick Murunga Wekesah, Caroline W. Kabiru, Chimaraoke O. Izugbara
      Pages 233-265Open Access
  6. Back Matter

    Pages 267-271

About this book

This open-access edited collection, focusing on Ghana and Nigeria, offers a transatlantic, transnational exploration of barriers that threaten the wellbeing of West African youth—ranging from Black immigrant youth in the American city of Newark, New Jersey, to students in Almajiri Islamic schools in Northern Nigeria. Incorporating themes of migration, vulnerability, and agency and aspirations, the book conveys the resilience of African youth transitioning toward adulthood in a world of structural inequality. It thus crosses the academic divide between Youth Studies and African Studies, while challenging conventional framings of Black youth as deficient and deviant—positing instead their individual and collective creativity and assets. The contributors employ different methodological approaches, including field research and autoethnography, from varying multidisciplinary and practitioner perspectives.


  • Open Access
  • youth learning
  • vulnerable youth
  • opportunity pathways
  • postsecondary pathways
  • African immigrant youth
  • micro-entrepreneurship
  • youth migration
  • youth wellbeing
  • urban Nigeria
  • African development
  • Ghana
  • youth mental health
  • labor market vulnerability

Editors and Affiliations

  • Rutgers University-Newark, Newark, USA

    Mora L. McLean

About the editor

Mora L. McLean is a researcher, writer, part-time university lecturer, and President Emerita of the Africa-America Institute (AAI).  As a Senior Fellow with the Cornwall Center at Rutgers University-Newark, she was principal investigator for the Ford Foundation-supported 2017 Forum on West African Youth Learning and Opportunity Pathways.  Her published essays include “What about the reciprocity? Pan-Africanism and the promise of global development,” in M.O. Okome & O. Vaughan’s Transnational Africa and Globalization (Palgrave, 2012).

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 34.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)