De-agrarianization and rural employment generation in sub-Saharan Africa : process and prospects

TitleDe-agrarianization and rural employment generation in sub-Saharan Africa : process and prospects
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsD.F. Bryceson
Series titleASC working paper
Pagination - 51
Date Published1993///
PublisherAfrican Studies Centre
Place PublishedLeiden
Publication Languageeng
ISSN Number90-5448-009-2

Sub-Saharan Africa is steadily becoming less rural in character. For decades development thinking has prescribed industrialization as the virtuous path leading away from economic dependence on agriculture. The present paper rejects the view that rural or even national industrialization has taken place or is likely to take place in sub-Saharan Africa in the immediate future. The author argues that the preconditions for this happening are largely absent. She proposes an alternative perspective centred on the process of 'de-agrarianization' and attendant rural employment generation. De-agrarianization is defined as a process of economic activity reorientation, occupational adjustment and spatial realignment of human settlement away from agrarian patterns. The most overt manifestations of this process are a diminishing degree of rural household food and basic needs self-sufficiency, a decline in agricultural labour effort relative to nonagricultural labour in total national labour expenditure, a decrease in agricultural output per capita relative to nonagricultural output, and a shrinking proportion of population residing in rural areas. A research programme on de-agrarianization and rural employment generation in Malawi, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Africa and Nigeria is proposed. (Abbreviated and revised version in: World Development, vol. 24, no. 1 (1996, p. 97-111.)


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Citation Key3903