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Nana Akua Anyidoho, PhD
Contact Info
PhD in Human Development and Social Policy (School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University)
BA in Psychology (University of Ghana)

Nana Akua Anyidoho is an Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Social Policy Studies.  Her background is primarily in development psychology and social policy, with additional training in statistics, economics and African Studies, and in both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.  

Prof. Anyidoho’s research is broadly in social policy and social development. Her work frequently explores themes of participation, inclusion, and empowerment by examining how marginalized social groups (in particular, young people and women) interact with and are impacted by social policy structures and processes. She is especially interested in higher education policy and its implication for graduate employment

She has published primarily in development studies, gender studies, and African studies journals. Her publications are available on her website and on ResearchGate.


Selected Projects:

Gender Equitable and Transformative Social Policy for Post-COVID-19 Africa (GETSPA)

Duration: 2020 - present

Position: Co-Principal Investigator

Funded by: Open Society Initiatives of Africa

The project seeks to understand the framing and value propositions underpinning social policy; the interface between social and economic policies; and the socio-economic development outcomes of social policy, particularly in terms of gender, class and spatial inequalities. The initial project output will be the basis for constituency-building and advocacy and a programme of future research toward the realization of an agenda for transformative and gender equitable social policy for Africa’s development.

Youth Policy Study, Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA)

Duration: 2017 - 2019

Position: Co-Investigator

Funded by: DFID

This study examined young people’s livelihood pathways in sites of agricultural commercialization in Ghana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

National Service and Beyond

Duration: 2015 - 2019

Position: Co-Investigator

Funded by: Boston University

An investigation of the transition of tertiary graduates into the labour market, using a national sample of 2,000 graduates.

Situation Analysis of Youth in Africa and Development of Policy Toolbox

Duration: 2014- 2016

Position: Lead Investigator

Funded by: United Nations Economic Commission on Africa (UNECA)

A project to respond to the need for African governments to formulate inclusive and sustainable development policies to promote the well-being of youth. Produced an analytical report on the situation of youth in Africa as a basis for toolbox of best policy practices on youth for African governments.

Informal Economy Monitoring Study: Street Vendors in Accra, Ghana (2012-2013)

Duration: 2012- 2013 

Position: Lead Country Researcher

Funded by: Women in Informal Economy Organizing (WIEGO)

The Ghana study was part of 10-city, longitudinal investigation of women in the urban informal economy.

Modelling the Career Choices of Students at the University of Ghana

Duration: 2010 - 2012

Position: Co-Investigator

Funded by: IDRC

This study assessed the aspirations, preferences and choices of over 5,000 university students, with particular attention to final year students transiting into the labour market.

Human Rights, Power and Civic Action (RIPOCA): Comparative Analyses of Human Rights-Based Approaches and Civic Struggle in Development Contexts

Duration: 2009 - 2010

Position: Co-Investigator

Funded by: Norwegian Research Council 

A multi-country study to investigate the ways in which struggles for human rights have been constrained by power relations and structural inequalities.

Formalising the Informal and Informalising the Formal? Analysing Changes in Women’s Work in Ghana

Duration: 2008 - 2010

Position: Co-Investigator

Funded by: IDRC

A study to analyse changes in women’s work in the informal (domestic) and formal (banking) sectors.

Pathways of Women’s Empowerment

Duration: 2005-2010

Position: Co-Investigator

Funded by: IDRC

A multi-country study on the varied pathways to women’s empowerment. Conducted research into the discourses around empowerment in national institutions and development practitioners in Ghana.


Selected Publications

[detailed publications and pdfs available on]

Ajayi, K. and Anyidoho, N.A. (2021). Self-employment preferences among university graduates in Ghana: goes gender make a difference?  Development Policy Review, DOI:  10.1111/dpr.12562

Anyidoho, N.A. (2020).  Skills or credentials: comparing the perspectives of degree- and non-degree-holding graduates on the value of higher education. Journal of Higher Education in Africa, 18(1), 67-91

Anyidoho, N. A. (2020). Women, gender and development. In O. Yacob-Yaliso  & T. Falola (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of African Women’s Studies. London: Palgrave Macmillan Cham. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-77030-7_63-1

Anyidoho, N.A., Crawford, G. and Medie, P. (2020). The role of civil society actors in the implementation of gender-based violence laws: The Domestic Violence Coalition and the Domestic Violence Act in Ghana. Politics & Gender.  DOI:

Yeboah, T., John, I., Chigumira, E., Anyidoho, N. A., Manyong, V., Flynn, J. and Sumberg, J. (2020) Hard work and hazard: young people and agricultural commercialisation in Africa. Journal of Rural Studies.

Anyidoho, N. A. (2018).  The intersection of feminism, religion and development in the discourses of ‘gender workers’ in Ghana. In Nandini Deo (Ed.), Postsecular feminisms: religion and gender in transnational context (pp. 143-152). London: Bloomsbury.

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. (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.

Sumberg, J., Yeboah, T., Flynn, J. & Anyidoho, N.A. (2017). Young people’s perspectives on farming in Ghana: a Q study. Food Security, 9(1), 151-161.

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. 

Yeboah, T., Sumberg, J., Flynn, J. & 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

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. Working Paper 109. Future Agricultures Consortium, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK.

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 (pp. 297-317). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Anyidoho, N.A. & Crawford, G. (2015).  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.

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.

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, pp.88-119.

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 Perspective. Accra: Sub-Saharan Publishers.

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. Working paper 032, Future Agricultures Consortium, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK. 

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.

Sumberg, J., Anyidoho, N.A., Leavy, J., te Lintelo, D. & Wellard, K. (2012). Introduction: The young people and agriculture ‘problem’ in Africa.   IDS Bulletin 43(6), 1-8.

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. & 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.

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


University Service (current)

Member, University Governing Council

Member, Advisory Board of College of Education

Member, Academic Board

Member, Physical Development and Municipal Services Committee

Member, College of Humanities Academic Board

Tutor/Member, Tutorial Board, Mensah Sarbah Hall


Professional Service

Immediate Past President, Ghana Studies Association

Executive Committee, Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA)

Board of Directors, African Studies Association (ASA)

Advisory Board, SSRC’s Next Generation Social Science in Africa

Program Co-Chair, 61st Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association

Editorial Board Member, African Affairs, African Review of Economics and Finance, and Policy Studies


National and International Service

Lead Consultant, Social Development Strategy for a Long-term National Development Plan for Ghana, Government of Ghana, 2017-2018

Co-Chair, UN Women Expert Group Meeting of the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 63) on ‘Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls’ held in New York, 13-15 Sep 2018

Member, Curriculum Advisory Committee, African Center for Peace and Security Training of the Institute of Security Studies, 2012-2015

Member, Cross-Sectoral Planning Group for Human Capital Development for Socio-Economic Transformation, National Planning and Development Commission of Ghana (NDPC), 2008



Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA)

Ghana Studies Association

African Studies Association