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Natural Resource Management And Poverty In Sub-Saharan Africa

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the opportunities and limitations of poverty reduction in Africa based on strategies of natural resource use. It argues that the small-farmer model of rural society that dominates policy-making fails to take account of key local dynamics. In particular, African use of land, water and other natural resources needs to be understood from a perspective that recognizes the integration of many rural people within broader national and international labour markets and its effects in terms of migration and distribution of labour. While new markets are being created by urbanization and by technological change, the capacity to take advantage of such opportunities tends to be unevenly spread among households, so that aggregate increases in investment and income are often accompanied by growing inequality between rural households. The chapter concludes by considering the implications of these economic dynamics for current policies favouring the decentralization of the management of natural resources.

Keywords: international labour markets; natural resource management; poverty reduction; rural households; Sub-Saharan Africa



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