Published: Jun 2014

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JEL Reference: O10, O13, O55, O1, O18

Working Paper

Agriculture in African Development: A Review of Theories and Strategies

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.

Part of the series

Keywords: economic growth, structural transformation, sub-Saharan Africa, rural development