Sub-Saharan Africa is rapidly urbanizing and experiencing accelerated economic growth. Yet the number of people living in extreme poverty remains distressingly high. Moreover, growing empirical evidence on poverty traps suggests persistence in extreme poverty, especially among those living in rural areas and working in agriculture. Harnessing the gains from growth and development for the alleviation of rural poverty requires boosting the productivity of land, labor, and other agricultural inputs through improved technology adoption and the elimination of factors that constrain investment, the efficient use of resources, and risk mitigation. Recently available household- and individual-level data sources, such as the Living Standards Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA), present new possibilities to understand the opportunities and constraints facing rural households and learn from recent experiences. New micro-level insights based on rigorous research using high quality data can guide the emerging macro-level policy discourse around the structural transformation of African economies, and especially of African agriculture and the continent’s rural spaces.
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