Income Diversification Patterns in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa: Reassessing the Evidence

38 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016 Last revised: 21 May 2020

See all articles by Benjamin Davis

Benjamin Davis

United Nations - Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Stefania Di Giuseppe

UN FAO

Alberto Zezza

World Bank; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Alberto Zezza

United Nations - Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Date Written: November 1, 2014

Abstract

Is Africa's rural economy transforming as its economies grow? This paper uses comparable income aggregates from 41 national household surveys from 22 countries to explore the extent of income diversification among rural households in Sub-Saharan Africa, and to look at how income diversification in Sub-Saharan Africa compares with other regions, taking into account differences in levels of development. The paper also seeks to understand how geography drives income diversification, focusing on the role of agricultural potential and distance to urban areas. The countries in the African sample have higher shares of on-farm income (63 versus 33 percent) and lower shares on nonagricultural wage income (8 and 21 percent) compared with countries of other regions. Specialization in on-farm activities continues to be the norm in rural Africa (52 percent of households, 21 percent in other regions). In terms of welfare, specialization in nonagricultural income-generating activities stochastically dominates farm-based strategies in all of the countries in our African sample. Crop income is still important for welfare, however, and even at higher levels of household income, crop activities continue to play an important complementary role. Regardless of distance and integration in the urban context, when agro-climatic conditions are favorable, farming remains the occupation of choice for most households in the African countries for which the study has geographically explicit information. When urban integration is low and agricultural conditions more difficult, the picture is mixed, with households more likely to engage more fully in nonfarm activities in Niger and Malawi, but less likely to do so in Uganda and Tanzania.

Keywords: Employment and Unemployment, Food Security, Access of Poor to Social Services, Disability, Services & Transfers to Poor, Income, Economic Assistance, Wages, Compensation & Benefits, Climate Change and Agriculture, Crops and Crop Management Systems

Suggested Citation

Davis, Benjamin and Di Giuseppe, Stefania and Zezza, Alberto and Zezza, Alberto, Income Diversification Patterns in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa: Reassessing the Evidence (November 1, 2014). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7108, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2524162

Benjamin Davis

United Nations - Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) ( email )

Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
Rome, Lazio 00100
Italy

Stefania Di Giuseppe

UN FAO ( email )

Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
Rome, Lazio 00100
ITALY

Alberto Zezza (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Alberto Zezza

United Nations - Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) ( email )

Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
Rome, Lazio 00100
Italy

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
118
Abstract Views
632
rank
260,067
PlumX Metrics