This article outlines a tension that plays itself out in rural areas throughout Africa. On the one hand, it is recognised that children throughout the world engage in economic activity, and this is particularly so in rural areas. On the other hand, is the policy, corporate and NGO focus on the elimination of child labour from the production of a small number of African export commodities. We argue that a key to resolving this tension and opening the door to more effective interventions to address children’s harmful work is to reframe the problem of, and debates around, child labour by changing the focus to children’s work. The article briefly explores some implications of this shift.
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