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Rural futures. How much should markets rule?

The paper distinguishes different approaches to markets in, and affecting, rural sub-Saharan Africa, and present some associated policies, notably ‘market-friendly’ and ‘market-challenging’. We then propose a political economy approach as a more satisfactory way of grasping the complex social dynamics of ‘real markets’ and their forms of unequal power. This is illustrated in relation to the class differentiation of ‘small farmers’ and its effects for rural ‘livelihood diversification'.

Publication information

  • IIED code: 14639IIED
  • Published: Oct 2014 - IIED
  • Theme: Food and agriculture
  • ISBN: 978-1-78431-090-5
  • Language: English

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Most rural Africans now live and farm in liberalised markets, which most African and international policy forums assume to be the best basis for economic activities. But there is considerable debate about these developments, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Africa’s evolving food systems

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