Economics at your fingertips  

Landscapes of opportunity: patterns of young people’s engagement with the rural economy in sub-Saharan Africa

Kibrom A. Abay, Woinishet Asnake, Hailemariam Ayalew (), Jordan Chamberlin () and James Sumberg

Journal of Development Studies, 2021, vol. 57, issue 4, 594-613

Abstract: While much has been said in recent years about the importance of engaging rural youth in sub-Saharan Africa’s development, the factual data about how African youth currently engage in rural economies remain sparse. We use recent nationally representative household survey data from six countries to describe the patterns of such engagement. We find that young people participate in agriculture at similar rates to older people. However, participation in non-farm wage employment and business activity changes with age, peaking in the 30s. The likelihood of reporting no activity is greatest for people in their 20s. In more remote places, people leave school earlier and are less likely to engage in the non-farm sector, compared with people in more accessible places. We also find evidence that the non-farm economy is more diversified in relatively more accessible places, offering a larger set of options for economic engagement. We show that ‘landscapes of opportunity’ , defined by economic remoteness and agricultural potential, are an important way of assessing the choices available to young rural people. A key conclusion is that efforts to develop a ‘youth lens’ for rural development should not abandon the mainstays of rural investment strategies such as infrastructure, education, and agricultural R&D.

Date: 2021
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (text/html)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from

DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2020.1808195

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Development Studies is currently edited by Howard White, Oliver Morrissey and Ken Shadlen

More articles in Journal of Development Studies from Taylor & Francis Journals
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Chris Longhurst ().

Page updated 2022-05-04
Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:57:y:2021:i:4:p:594-613