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Agriculture in African Development: A Review of Theories and Strategies

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  • Stefan Dercon
  • Douglas Gollin

Abstract

Agriculture is the largest sector in most sub-Saharan economies in terms of employment, and it plays an important role in supplying food and export earnings. Rural poverty rates remain high, and labor productivity is strikingly low. This paper asks how these factors shape the role of agriculture in African development strategies. Is agricultural growth a prerequisite for growth in other sectors? Or will urbanization and non-agricultural export markets ultimately be the forces that pull the rural economy into higher productivity? We argue that agricultural development strategies will vary widely because of heterogeneity across and within countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan Dercon & Douglas Gollin, 2014. "Agriculture in African Development: A Review of Theories and Strategies," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-22, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2014-22
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    Cited by:

    1. Ryan Edwards, 2015. "Is plantation agriculture good for the poor? Evidence from Indonesia's palm oil expansion," Departmental Working Papers 2015-12, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    2. Coromaldi, Manuela & Pallante, Giacomo & Savastano, Sara, 2015. "Adoption of modern varieties, farmers' welfare and crop biodiversity: Evidence from Uganda," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 346-358.
    3. Diao, Xinshen & Harttgen, Kenneth & McMillan, Margaret S., 2017. "The changing structure of Africa’s economies," IFPRI discussion papers 1598, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Xinshen Diao & Kenneth Harttgen & Margaret McMillan, 2017. "The Changing Structure of Africa’s Economies," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(2), pages 412-433.
    5. Margaret McMillan & Kenneth Harttgen, 2014. "Working Paper - 209 - What is driving the African Growth Miracle," Working Paper Series 2145, African Development Bank.
    6. Andersson, Martin & Rohne Till, Emelie, 2017. "Between the Engine and the Fifth Wheel: An Analytical Survey of the Shifting Roles of Agriculture in Development Theory," Lund Papers in Economic History 163, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    7. Ligon, Ethan & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2017. "Estimating the Relative Benefits of Agricultural Growth on the Distribution of Expenditures," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt3zh92962, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    8. Jayne, T.S. & Chamberlin, Jordan & Traub, Lulama & Sitko, N. & Muyanga, Milu & Yeboah, Kwame & Nkonde, Chewe & Anseeuw, Ward & Chapoto, A. & Kachule, Richard, 2015. "Africa’s Changing Farmland Ownership: Causes and Consequences," Miscellaneous Publications 208576, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    9. McCullough, Ellen B., 2015. "Understanding Agricultural Labor Exits in Tanzania," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 206080, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    10. Jayne, Thomas S. & Chamberlin, Jordan & Traub, Lulama & Sitko, N. & Muyanga, Milu & Yeboah, Felix & Nkonde, Chewe & Anseeuw, Ward & Chapoto, Anthony & Kachule, Richard, 2015. "Africa's Changing Farmland Ownership: The Rise of the Emergent Investor Farmer," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212028, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    11. repec:eee:wdevel:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:95-109 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. McCullough, Ellen B., 2016. "Occupational Choice and Agricultural Labor Exits in Sub-Saharan Africa," 2016 AAAE Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 249275, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).
    13. Traub, Lulama & Yeboah, Felix & Meyer, Ferdinand & Jayne, Thomas S., 2015. "Megatrends and the Future of African Economies," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212525, International Association of Agricultural Economists.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic growth; structural transformation; sub-Saharan Africa; rural development;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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