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Structural Transformation and Rural Change Revisited: Challenges for Late Developing Countries in a Globalizing World

by: Bruno Losch, Sandrine Freguin-Gresh, Eric Thomas White
Price: $34.95   *Geographic discounts available!

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Africa Development Forum
English; Paperback; 258 pages; 6x9
Published June 18, 2012 by World Bank
ISBN: 978-0-8213-9512-7; SKU: 19512

This book makes a compelling case for reintegrating structural issues into agricultural and rural development policies, which have for the last 30 years over-focused on short-term issues. It shows how the liberalization of agriculture in many late developing countries has not in fact led to the development of the vibrant rural non-farm economy, nor has it led to a large-scale integration of agricultural producers into the global economy. Despite these findings, the book draws optimistic conclusions: there are a clear set of policy priorities that, if adapted to individual country contexts, can facilitate an enduring and productive rural transformation.

The book is based on an in-depth seven-country study that surveyed 8,000 rural households. It specifically focuses on these households’ activity and income structures in an evolving agricultural context marked by liberalization and trends of increasing economic integration. In doing so it reviews the very different levels (and trajectories) of rural diversification among countries at various stages in the structural transformation process.

Based on its investigation of existing rural realities, the book suggests several policy orientations. These include a clear need to focus on staples and family agriculture, to engage in targeted development strategies at the regional level, and to pursue a policy of 'territorial development' that promotes strong rural-urban linkages at the level of rural localities, towns and districts.

'The value of this book is in reminding us of the importance of structural change and the role played by agriculture, as well as alerting us to the risks we face if we deny the realities of demographics, of the marginalization of small producers, and of the lack of inclusiveness of public policies. For Africa, the immediate future will be stable only if we fight against the political expropriation of the rural majority and if we can take economic advantage of the current strength of its population: its youth. Structural Transformation and Rural Change Revisited helps us to think about these issues and therefore to act intelligently.'

— Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO, The New Partnership for Africa’s Development

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