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Working in Chains: African Informal Workers and Global Value Chains

Kate Meagher

Agrarian South: Journal of Political Economy, 2019, vol. 8, issue 1-2, 64-92

Abstract: This article examines how global value chains alter the processes of value creation by reshaping the institutional systems that govern the livelihoods of poor rural workers in contemporary Africa. In connecting rural workers to distant markets, global value chains reconfigure local modes of organization and resource use, translating and redistributing value in unexpected ways. The capacity of global linkages to resolve problems of rural poverty and disaffection is explored in the context of informal workers in horticultural farms in South Africa and precarious women producers of exotic oil in the Argan forests of south-western Morocco. Particular attention is focused on the mechanisms through which global linkages reconfigure institutional systems in the creation of transnational value chains, realigning labor regimes, livelihoods, and local commercial systems, followed by a consideration of the social tensions created by the economic and organizational realignment needed to make global value chains work.

Keywords: Global value chains; informality; labor;  Africa; rural livelihoods (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1177/2277976019848567

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Handle: RePEc:sae:agspub:v:8:y:2019:i:1-2:p:64-92