Prof. Nana Akua Anyidoho

Prof. Nana Akua Anyidoho
Associate Professor

Nana Akua Anyidoho is an Associate Professor at ISSER and currently director of the Centre for Social Policy Studies (CSPS), also at the University of Ghana.  She has a BA in Psychology from the University of Ghana and a PhD in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University.

Her research is broadly in the areas of social policy and social development, with a focus on how people interact with policy. Her work frequently explores themes of participation, inclusion, agency and empowerment by examining how marginalized social groups (in particular, young people and women) respond to globalizing and neo-liberalizing policy structures in their struggles for social and economic rights.

Given the complexity of the processes by which social policy affects human lives and is, in turn, interpreted, adapted or resisted, Prof. Anyidoho brings an interdisciplinary perspective to her research; she has training in social policydevelopmental psychology, and African Studies, and in both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

She has published and presented her work internationally, and held visiting fellowships at Boston University, Penn State University, and the University of Sussex. She has also carried out commissioned research for the Government of Ghana, the World Bank, UNECA, DFID, IDRC and Cadbury Schweppes, among others. was co-lead for UNECA's report, 'The Situational Analysis of Youth in Africa', which culminated in the development of a policy toolbox for African governments.  Between 2016 and 2017, I was the lead consultant for the development of a Social Development Strategy for Ghana's National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), as part of a Long-Term National Development Plan for the Government of Ghana. 

Professor Anyidoho is a member of the Executive Committee of CODESRIA, a member of the Board of Directors of the African Studies Association, and the immediate past president of the Ghana Studies Association, an international affiliate of the African Studies Association.  She is on the editorial boards of the journals African Affairs, African Review of Economics and Finance, and Policy Studies. 

Her publications can be found on and

My research is at the intersection of policy processes and people’s everyday lives. I especially interested in how young people and women, as socially marginalized groups, interact with policy. 

My recent research has focused on

    • Young people’s work aspirations and transitions
      • young women's digital platform work
      • young people’s work and futures in agriculture
      • young people’s employment aspirations and preferences
      • the school-to-work transition of tertiary graduates
      • helps and hindrances to young people's economic empowerment
    • Women’s work and empowerment
      • informalisation of women’s work
      • experiences and challenges of market traders
      • civil society advocacy against gender-based violence
    • Analysis of policy discourses and practices
      • comparative analysis of youth policies
      • policy discourses on ‘women’s empowerment’
      • the politics of educational language policy
      • conceptualising participation in social development policy


Young people’s employment aspirations and transitions

Anarfi, J. K., Anyidoho, N. A. & Verschoor, A. (2008). The economic empowerment of young people in Ghana. [Commissioned research report for World Bank]

Anyidoho, N.A. (2016). Skills training and economic restructuring to create jobs for young people in Africa. Available at

Anyidoho, N.A. & Omolo, J. (2016). Situational analysis of youth in Africa. [Analytical report commissioned by Economic Commission on Africa (ECA)].

 Anyidoho, N.A., Kayuni, H., Ndungu, J., Leavy, J., Sall, M., Tadele, G. & Sumberg, S. (2012). Young people and policy narratives in sub-Saharan Africa. FAC Working paper 032. Brighton, UK: Future Agricultures Consortium, Institute of Development Studies. Available at

Anyidoho, N.A., Leavy, J. & Asenso-Okyere, K. (2012). Perceptions and aspirations: A case study of young people in Ghana’s cocoa sector. IDS Bulletin, 43 (6), 20-32.

Ajayi, K., & Anyidoho, N. A. (2017). Explaining gender differences in preference for self-employment among tertiary graduates in Ghana. WIDER Working Paper 2017/147. Helsinki, Finland: UNU-WIDER. Available at

McAdams, D., Bauer, J. J., Sakaeda, A., Anyidoho, N. A., Machado, M. A., Magrino-Failla, K., White, K. W. & Pals, J. L. (2006). Continuity and change in the life story: A longitudinal study of autobiographical memories in emerging adulthood. Journal of Personality, 74(5), 1371-1400(30).

Sumberg, J., Anyidoho, N.A., Chasukwa, M., Chinsinga, B., Leavy, J., Tadele, G., Whitfield, S. & Yaro, J. (2015). Young people, agriculture, and employment in rural Africa. In D. Resnick & Thurlow, J. (Eds.), African youth and the persistence of marginalization: employment, politics, and prospects for change. New York: Routledge.

Sumberg, J., Yeboah, T., Flynn, J. and Anyidoho, N.A. (2017). Young people’s perspectives on farming in Ghana: a Q study. Food Security. DOI 10.1007/s12571-016-0646-y

Sumberg, J., Yeboah, T., Flynn, J. & Anyidoho, N. A. (2015). Perspectives on jobs and farming: findings from a Q study with young people, parents and development workers in rural Ghana. FAC Working Paper 109. Brighton, UK: Future Agricultures Consortium, Institute of Development Studies. Available at

Yeboah, T., Sumberg, J., Flynn, J. and Anyidoho, N.A. (2016). What is a desirable job? What makes a job desirable? Findings from a Q study with students and parents in rural Ghana. European Journal of Development Research. doi:10.1057/s41287-016-0006-y

Women’s work and empowerment

Anyidoho, N. A. (2013). Informal Economy Monitoring Study: Accra City Report. Manchester, UK: Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO). Available at

Anyidoho, N. A., & Adomako Ampofo, A. (2017). Informalising the formal: the conditions of female agency workers in Ghana's banking sector. Contemporary Journal of African Studies, 4(2), 67-92

Anyidoho, N.A. & Adomako Ampofo, A. (2015). “How can I come to work on Saturday when I have a family?”: Ghanaian women and bank work in a neo-liberal era. In C. Rodriguez, D. Tsikata & A. Adomako Ampofo (Eds.), Transatlantic feminisms: women and Gender Studies in Africa and the diaspora. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Anyidoho, N.A. & Steel, W.F. (2016). Informal-formal linkages in market and street trading in Accra. African Review of Economics and Finance, 8(2), 171-200.

Anyidoho, N.A. & Steel, W.F. (2015). Perceptions of costs and benefits of informal-formal linkages: Market and street vendors in Accra, Ghana. WIEGO Working Paper 35. Cambridge, MA: Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO). Available at

Butler, L.M., Kobati, G.Y., Anyidoho, N.A, Colecraft, E.K., Marquis, G.S. & Sakyi-Dawson, O. (2012). Microcredit-Education: A case study analysis of Ghanaian women’s experiences with income generation and family care. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, 21(1), 5709-5724.

Manuh, T. & Anyidoho, N.A. (2015). To Beijing and back: Reflections on the influence of the Beijing Conference on popular notions of women’s empowerment in Ghana. IDS Bulletin, 46(4), 19-27.

Manuh, T., Anyidoho, N. A. & Phobee-Hayford, F. (2013). “Just a femocrat doing my job”: Working within the state to advance women’s empowerment in Ghana. In R. Eyben & L. Turquet (Eds.), Feminists in development organizations: changes from the margins. Warwickshire, UK: Practical Action Publishing.

Analysis of social policy discourses and practices

Anyidoho, N.A. (2017). Making sense of participation. In G. Owusu, R.D. Osei & F.A. Asante (Eds.), Contemporary issues in development policy and practice in Ghana: a reader. Accra: University of Ghana/Sub-Saharan Publishers.

Anyidoho, N. A. (2012). On whose terms? Negotiating participatory development in a fluid policy landscape. In H. Lauer & K. Anyidoho (Eds.), Reclaiming the Social Sciences and Humanities through African Perspectives.

Anyidoho, N. A. (2010). Theorising the intersection of public policy and personal lives through the lens of ‘participation’, Africa Development, 25(3), 1-11.

Anyidoho, N.A. (2010). ‘Communities of practice’: Prospects for theory and action in participatory development. Development in Practice, 20(3), 318-328.

Anyidoho, N. A. (2003). Educational language policy in Ghana: Inserting the global into the local. International Journal of Learning, 10, 2983-2988.

Anyidoho, A. & Anyidoho, N.A. (2009). Political considerations in the choice of medium of instruction. Research Review, Supplement 19, 9-34.

Anyidoho, N.A., Kayuni, H., Ndungu, J., Leavy, J., Sall, M., Tadele, G. & Sumberg, S. (2012). Young people and policy narratives in sub-Saharan Africa. FAC Working paper 032. Brighton, UK: Future Agricultures Consortium, Institute of Development Studies. Available at

Anyidoho, N.A. & Manuh. T. (2010). Discourses of women’s empowerment in Ghana. Development, 53(2), 267-273.

Cornwall, A. & Anyidoho, N.A. (2010). Women’s empowerment: contentions and contestations. Development, 53(2), 144-149.

Manuh, T. & Anyidoho, N.A. (2015). To Beijing and back: Reflections on the influence of the Beijing Conference on popular notions of women’s empowerment in Ghana. IDS Bulletin, 46(4), 19-27.

Sarpong, D. & Anyidoho, N.A. (2012). Climate change and agricultural policy processes in Ghana. FAC Working Paper 45. Brighton, UK: Future Agricultures Consortium, Institute of Development Studies. Available at

Other Themes

Civil society activism

Aberese, M., Anyidoho, N.A. & Crawford, G. (2013). NGOs, rights-based approaches and the potential for progressive development in local contexts: constraints and challenges in northern Ghana. Journal of Human Rights Practice. 5(1), 46-74

Anyidoho, N.A. & Crawford, G. (2014). Leveraging global links for local advocacy: WACAM’s challenge to the power of transnational mining corporations. Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 35(4), 483-502.

Anyidoho, N.A. & Gariba, S. (2016). An analytical paper on monitoring, evaluation and learning from collective action movements in Africa. [Analytical report for Rockefeller Foundation with the Institute for Policy Alternatives]

Crawford, G. & Anyidoho, N.A. (2013). Ghana: Struggles for rights in a democratising context. In B. A. Andreassen & G. Crawford (eds.), Human rights, power and civic action: comparative analyses of struggles for rights in developing societies. London: Routledge.

Reflections on the state and study of Ghana/Africa

Anyidoho, N. A. (2008). Recapturing the dream. In K. Gyekye (Ed.), Ghana@50 anniversary lectures (pp. 391-398). Accra: National Planning Committee of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations.

Anyidoho, N. A. (2008). Identity and knowledge production in the fourth generation, Africa Development, 33(1), 25-39.

Anyidoho, N.A. (2006). Identity and knowledge production in the fourth generation. In Björn Beckman & Gbemisola Remi Adeoti (Eds.), Intellectuals and African Development: Pretension and resistance in African politics (pp. 156-169). London: Zed Books.

Anyidoho, N. A. & Asante, K. (2008). Truly national? Social inclusion and the Ghana@50 celebrations. Ghana Studies, 11, 139-173.

Graduate Courses

  • Advanced Qualitative Methods and Analysis, PhD in Development Studies, ISSER, 2014–present
  • Comparative Social Policy, PhD in Social POlicy Studies, CSPS, 2020-present.
  • Social Development, M.A. in Development Studies, ISSER, 2006-present
  • Gender Relations and Development, M.A. in Development Studies, ISSER, 2009-2010

Short Courses

  • Research Methodology and Report Writing (coordinator & instructor), ISSER Short Courses, 2006-present.
  • Alternative Approaches to Development (module),PhD in Development Studies, ISSER, 2010 to present.
  • Qualitative Methodology (module),UG Doctoral School, 2015
  • Managing the doctoral process (module),UG Doctoral School, 2015