IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Is Small Beautiful? Small Enterprise, Aid and Employment in Africa


  • Sam Jones
  • John Page
  • Abebe Shimeles
  • Finn Tarp
  • John Page
  • Måns Söderbom


type="main" xml:lang="en"> Aid providers often describe small firms as ‘job creators’. But what types of jobs do they create? Drawing on enterprise survey data for nine African countries and panel data for Ethiopia we find that small and large formal sector firms create similar numbers of net jobs. Small firms, however, have much higher turnover of employment and pay persistently lower wages. To create more ‘good’ jobs aid should target the constraints to the growth of firms of all sizes. Improving the ‘investment climate’ and new programs to increase firms' capabilities—through, for example, management training—offer greater prospects for employment creation.

Suggested Citation

  • Sam Jones & John Page & Abebe Shimeles & Finn Tarp & John Page & Måns Söderbom, 2015. "Is Small Beautiful? Small Enterprise, Aid and Employment in Africa," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 27(S1), pages 44-55, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:afrdev:v:27:y:2015:i:s1:p:44-55

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Ssozi, John & Asongu, Simplice & Amavilah, Voxi, 2018. "The Effectiveness of Development Aid for Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa," MPRA Paper 88530, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. John Page, 2016. "Industry in Tanzania Performance, prospects, and public policy," WIDER Working Paper Series 005, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Tony Addison & Ville Pikkarainen & Risto Rönkkö & Finn Tarp, 2017. "Development and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 169, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. repec:eee:wdevel:v:108:y:2018:i:c:p:157-168 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Florence Crick & Mamadou Diop & Momadou Sow & Birame Diouf & Babacar Diouf & Joseph Muhwanga & Muna Dajani, 2016. "Enabling private sector adaptation in developing countries and their semi-arid regions – case studies of Senegal and Kenya," GRI Working Papers 258, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    6. repec:liu:liucej:v:13:y:2016:i:2:p:221-246 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Janvier Nkurunziza, 2016. "MSMEs Financing in Burundi and its Welfare Effect," BeFinD Working Papers 0111, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
    8. repec:bla:afrdev:v:29:y:2017:i:3:p:376-388 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Crick, Florence & Eskander, Shaikh M.S.U. & Fankhauser, Sam & Diop, Mamadou, 2018. "How do African SMEs respond to climate risks? Evidence from Kenya and Senegal," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 157-168.
    10. Simplice A. Asongu & Jacinta C. Nwachukwu, 2016. "Rational Asymmetric Development, Piketty and Poverty in Africa," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 13(2), pages 221-246, December.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:afrdev:v:27:y:2015:i:s1:p:44-55. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley Content Delivery) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.