Time and location

Monday, 2 November 2015, 19:00 - 21:00
Diplomatic Academy, Festsaal, Favoritenstraße 15a, 1040 Vienna


Alcinda Honwana
Visiting Professor at The Open University, Milton-Keynes, UK

Omar Belhaj Salah
The European Institute of High International Studies, Nice, France

Monika Kalcsics
journalist, ORF/Ö1, Vienna

Welcome: Franz Schmidjell, VIDC

Language: English

Registration: schmidjell@remove-this.vidc.org

African Youth in Waithood

© Ina Thiam
© Ina Thiam


Young Africans are experiencing ‘waithood’, a prolonged period between adolescence and adulthood. As a result of a lack of jobs and not being able to support a family, young people are stuck in ‘waithood’, when they cannot expect assistance from parents or the state but do not enjoy the privileges of full-fledged adulthood either.
With 200 million people between the ages of 15 and 24 and another 400 million under 14, Africa has the youngest population in the world. In North Africa, the youth unemployment rate is 30%, and even worse in some Sub-Sahara African countries. Young women feel the sting of unemployment even more sharply, regardless of their skills.  Young Africans are better educated than their parents and have higher expectations, but they are less likely to have jobs or political influence.
Disaffected young people risk their lives trying to reach Europe. Others join radical groups such as Boko Haram or the “Islamic State”. Youth protesting their socio-economic and political marginalization have been able to change governments in Tunisia and Burkina Faso.
Has the social contract - under which society integrates its youth into the economy as productive adults - been broken under the neoliberal paradigm? Is the ‘waithood’ generation entering an era in which they are manipulated by the elites into fighting ethnic and religious conflicts? Or will they find ways to fight for their own socio-economic and political rights? 


Alcinda Honwana

is a visiting professor in the Development Policy and Practice program at The Open University in Milton-Keyns, United Kingdom. Her latest publications include Youth and Revolution in Tunisia (Zed Books 2013), The Time of Youth: Work, Social Change and Politics in  Africa (KP Books, 2012) and Youth Employment and Transitions to Adulthood (IESE Conference 2012). She holds a doctoral degree (PhD) in Social Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London, a masters degree (Maîtrise) in Sociology from the University of Paris VIII, Paris and a bachelors degree (BA) in History and Geography from the University Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo. Alcinda Honwana lives in the USA.

Omar Belhaj Salah

is a researcher and started recently a master's program in Advanced European and International Studies at The European Institute of High International Studies in Nice, France. Before he worked at the Global Public Peace Institute (GPPI) in Berlin. In 2013, he completed a research internship at Democracy Reporting International (DRI) and at Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP). Mr. Salah has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and History from Manouba University in Tunis, His research interests are in literature, history, politics and religion.


Monika Kalcsics

has been a freelance radio journalist since 2000 for the Austrian public-service broadcaster ORF. She reports on current affairs and produces documentaries for the cultural radio channel Ö1 (Austria 1). In 2007 she set up an independent media production company in Vienna, with four colleagues, to promote underrepresented news. In 2011 she was awarded the APA's Alfred Geiringer Scholarship which allowed her to study at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in Oxford. She published her thesis on the topic: "A reporting disaster? The interdependence of media and aid agencies in a competitive compassion market".