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Household enterprises in Mozambique : key to poverty reduction but not on the development agenda ?

  • Fox, Louise
  • Sohnesen, Thomas Pave

Household enterprises -- usually one-person-operated tiny informal enterprises -- are a rapidly growing source of employment in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially in lower-income countries. Household enterprises tend to operate with limited interest or support from governments. This is the case in Mozambique, where neither the poverty reduction strategy nor small and medium enterprise development policies include household enterprises. Using multiple household surveys, including a recent panel data set, this paper identifies the characteristics of the sector and its development during the period in which Mozambique experienced rapid economic growth. The analysis finds that household enterprises in Mozambique are associated with higher household consumption, lower rural poverty, as well as upward mobility, particularly for rural and poorly educated households. But if the Mozambican government wants to tap this potential, it will need a different strategy than one designed to support small and medium enterprises, because creation and survival in this sector seems to depend on a set of factors related to the human capital in the household and development in the location, not the soft business environment constraints, such as licensing and permitting and corruption, which are cited by larger business.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6570.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6570
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  1. Louise Fox, 2008. "Beating the Odds : Sustaining Inclusion in Mozambique's Growing Economy," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6504.
  2. Arndt, Channing & Simler, Kenneth R., 2005. "Estimating utility-consistent poverty lines," FCND discussion papers 189, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Mead, Donald C. & Liedholm, Carl, 1998. "The dynamics of micro and small enterprises in developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 61-74, January.
  4. Kweka, Josaphat & Fox, Louise, 2011. "The household enterprise sector in Tanzania : why it matters and who cares," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5882, The World Bank.
  5. Loening, Josef & Mikael Imru, Laketch, 2009. "Ethiopia: Diversifying the Rural Economy. An Assessment of the Investment Climate for Small and Informal Enterprises," MPRA Paper 23278, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Channing Arndt & M. Azhar Hussain & E. Samuel Jones & Virgulino Nhate & Finn Tarp & James Thurlow, 2011. "Explaining Poverty Evolution: The Case of Mozambique," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Working Paper W, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  7. Alfani, Federica & Azzarri, Carlo & d'Errico, Marco & Molini, Vasco, 2012. "Poverty in Mozambique : new evidence from recent household surveys," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6217, The World Bank.
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