African countries face serious difficulties in getting the agricultural policies they need to help turn economic growth into economic transformation. Nonetheless, radical pessimism may not be justified for two reasons. By comparing Southeast Asian and African experience in other policy fields, this paper suggests that changing policy ideas may play a role that is not captured by most political economy diagnostics. Further, it provides evidence that social and economic reforms can be achieved ‘against the odds’ when local actors are empowered to pursue a politically smart, entrepreneurial approach.
Keywords: Agriculture, political economy, sector reform, development entrepreneurship, family farming.
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