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Non-Farm Entrepreneurship in Rural Africa: Patterns and Determinants

  • Nagler, Paula

    ()

    (Maastricht University)

  • Naudé, Wim

    ()

    (Maastricht University)

We are the first to provide a comparative empirical analysis of non-farm entrepreneurship in rural Africa, using the World Bank's unique LSMSISA dataset. This dataset covers six countries over the period 2005 to 2012. We find that rural enterprises tend to be small, informal household enterprises that provide predominantly goods and services to the local economy, and operate intermittently due to seasonality in farming. We furthermore establish that the likelihood of operating an off-farm enterprise depends on individual capabilities, household characteristics and institutional factors. While the results of some variables show consistency across the sample, we also find much heterogeneity, suggesting that rural entrepreneurship is also a response to country-level circumstances and policies. Although more than 50 years have passed since rural development was identified as a priority for African countries, rural entrepreneurship continues to fulfill mainly a risk-diversifying role. This may suggest that policies to foster effective rural-urban migration and wage employment in rural areas, have largely failed in Africa.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8008.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8008
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  1. Rijkers, Bob & Söderbom, Måns, 2013. "The Effects of Risk and Shocks on Non-Farm Enterprise Development in Rural Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 119-136.
  2. Rijkers, Bob & Costa, Rita, 2012. "Gender and rural non-farm entrepreneurship," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6066, The World Bank.
  3. Davis, Benjamin & Covarrubias, Katia & Stamoulis, Kostas G. & Winters, Paul C. & Carletto, Calogero & Quinones, Esteban & Zezza, Alberto & Di Giuseppe, Stefania, 2007. "Rural Income Generating Activities: A Cross Country Comparison," 106th Seminar, October 25-27, 2007, Montpellier, France 7913, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  4. Bhaumik, Sumon Kumar & Dimova, Ralitza & Nugent, Jeffrey B., 2011. "Off-farm labor supply and labor markets in rapidly changing circumstances: Bulgaria during transition," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 378-389, September.
  5. Escobal, Javier, 2001. "The Determinants of Nonfarm Income Diversification in Rural Peru," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 497-508, March.
  6. Lanjouw, Jean O. & Lanjouw, Peter, 2001. "The rural non-farm sector: issues and evidence from developing countries," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 26(1), October.
  7. Awudu Abdulai & Christopher L. Delgado, 1999. "Determinants of Nonfarm Earnings of Farm-Based Husbands and Wives in Northern Ghana," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(1), pages 117-130.
  8. Marcel Fafchamps & Forhad Shilpi, 2003. "The spatial division of labour in Nepal," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(6), pages 23-66.
  9. Fox, Louise & Sohnesen, Thomas Pave, 2013. "Household enterprises in Mozambique : key to poverty reduction but not on the development agenda ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6570, The World Bank.
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