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The Changing Global Landscape in Rural Development: Critical Choices for Results-Oriented Research in Southern Africa


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Title: The Changing Global Landscape in Rural Development: Critical Choices for Results-Oriented Research in Southern Africa

Rethinking The Rural Development Research Agenda
In Southern Africa
  • The Changing Global Landscape in Rural
    Development Critical Choices for
    Results-Oriented Research in Southern Africa
  • By
  • Vuyo Mahlati
  • 24 November 2010
  • University of Pretoria Postgraduate School of
    Agriculture and Rural Development

  • Global Realities and the Rural Dilemma
  • Meaning and Measurement - Definitions and
    Conceptual Frameworks
  • Strategic Intent (Skirting the Structural/Systemic
  • Problematic Institutional Premise
  • Donor-dependency impact on research (sponsored
  • Fragmentation of Research
  • Sector-focus versus Issue-based
  • Mono-discipline

Global Realities
  • Declining world economy with massive job losses
    and contraction of world trade
  • Poverty and Hunger
  • Climate change and ecosystem change
  • Threat to rural livelihoods
  • Vulnerability of rural sectors -agriculture,
    coastal resources, energy, forestry, tourism, and
  • Low-latitude location - Up to 80 percent of the
    damages from climate change may be concentrated
    in low-latitude countries (Mendelsohn 2008)
  • Regional and Global integration focuses on
    integrating global markets, neglecting the needs
    of people that markets cannot meet
  • Foreign aid decline with increasing doubt on
  • Financialisation of the global economic system
    with financial exclusion of the rural poor

Rural Dilemma
  • Rural Poverty, Disease and Low Productivity
  • Feminization of rural areas Feminization of
    agriculture Feminization of poverty and disease
    (Youth exodus to cities),
  • Social protection (absolute poverty strategies)
    vs productive and sustainable livelihoods
  • Comparative advantage that does not translate to
  • Ecosystem sustainability,
  • Spatial imbalances Rural-urban disconnect
  • Overdependence on subsistence agriculture,
  • Food Insecurity,
  • Limited access to off-farm employment,
  • Unemployment with sluggish development in urban
  • Skewed income distribution,
  • Poor transport, basic services and market
  • Low literacy rates
  • Legacy of colonialization and apartheid

Comparative Advantage Competitive Disadvantage
Dependence on the export of primary products,
absence of an industrial base, weak savings and
investments, limited profit-earning capacity of
capital, under-serviced basic and social needs
(health, education, and social welfare)
Zambia Example 65 Rural Pop
  • Economic growth averaging more than 4 between
    1997 and 2007 (6.2 in 2007, 5.8 in 2008 and
    4.5 in 2009)
  • 2nd largest producer of Cobalt and 7th largest
    producer of Copper in the world BUT
  • Inequality and exclusion from mainstream
    financial markets
  • 64 of individuals live below the traditional
    dollar a day poverty line, which has now been
    adjusted to 1.25/day
  • Almost 87 of individuals survive on less than
    2.50 a day (the traditional 2/day line)
  • 85 of FinScope Survey 2009 rural based
    respondents - no formal education compared to 14
    urban dwellers
  • Only 13.9 of Zambian adults use commercial bank
  • Usage of commercial bank products is higher in
    urban than in rural areas.
  • Low insurance penetration (6.6)

Zambia Example
Zambia Microenterprise Sector Source Zambia
Business Survey 2010
  • Rural development and Land Reform Addressing
    the Past, the Present and the Future
  • How can land reform redress injustices from
    colonial and apartheid regimes of dispossession
    and discrimination (racial/gender), the legacy of
    poverty and under- development, as well as tackle
    the challenges of population growth, increasing
    inequality, climate change and financialisation
    of the economic system.
  • According to Foster (2007) financialisation
    refers to the shift in the weight of economic
    activity from production to finance.

  • Lack of clarity, coherence and consensus on rural
    development conceptualization, definition(s), the
    driving development agenda, with inadequate
    delivery strategies and measurement.

Rural Development Definitions
  • Chambers(1983) definition
  • strategy to enable a specific group of people,
    poor rural women and men, to gain for themselves
    and their children more of what they want and
    need. It involves helping the poorest among those
    who seek livelihood in the rural areas to demand
    and control more of the benefits of development

What is rural development?
  • Rural development (RD)- is the improvement of the
    spatial and socioeconomic environment of rural
    space, which leads to the enhancement of the
    individuals ability to care for and sustain
    his/her well-being (Madu, 2003b).
  • multidimensional and multifunctional in nature
    (SARDF, 1997 Knickel and Renting, 2000).
  • constitute a broader subject than agricultural
    economics, with a spatial as opposed to a
    sectoral definition (de Janvry et al, 2002).

Difference between agricultural economics and
rural economics
  • Agricultural economics
  • Elementary unit of analysis- farm
  • Major fields of analysis
  • Farm production
  • Marketing of agricultural commodities
  • Demand for food
  • Performance of product and factor markets
  • Rural economics
  • Elementary unit of analysis- household with the
    farm as a typical subset of economic activity
  • Major fields of analysis
  • Resource allocation by household
  • Choices of income strategies
  • Poverty and inequality (de Janvry et al., 2002).

  • Linkages between agriculture and other sectors of
    the economy, and the rest of the world
  • Agricultural and food policy (de Janvry et al.,
  • Emergence of performance of agrarian institutions
  • Income levels
  • Income and food security
  • Satisfaction of basic needs (access to public
    goods and services e.g health and education)
  • Intergenerational equity
  • Quality (standard) of life (de Janvry et al.,

Rural Population and Agricultural Employment in
South Africa Compared to the Rest of the World,
Calculated from FAO, The State of Food and
Agriculture 2006 (Presidency 2008 )
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Influence by Ideological Paradigm shifts
  • Neo-classical economics- well functioning markets
    versus market distortions and imperfections
  • New institutional economics- linking equity and
  • Livelihoods- a developmentalist version
    development as a livelihood improvement and
    poverty reduction
  • Livelihoods- a welfarist version poverty
    alleviation, and social protection
  • Radical political economy- development as
    agrarian transformation
  • Marxism- the agrarian question, focusing on the
    transition to capitalism in agriculture (Cousins
    and Scoones, 2010)

  • The WCARRD (World Conference on Agrarian Reform
    and Rural Development) asserts that the
    transformation of rural life must be pursued by
    policies which allowed growth to be reached in an
    equitable way, through redistribution of the
    economic and political power and peoples
  • Meeting constitutional commitment and moral
    obligation for redress social cohesion
    (Deracialization of commercial farmland and
    advancement of womens rights in communal, family
    household land)
  • Walker (in Ntsebeza Hall 2007134) states that
    land reform can make a contribution to economic
    development at both household and societal level,
    but one cannot assume that it is a cure for
    deeply entrenched problems of poverty, inequality
    and social dislocation.

South African Case Study
Settlement patterns
Population by type of region
The economy by region
Household amenities by region
CPS 2007
  • The first rural development policy initiatives
    came directly after the launch of the
    Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) in
    1995 by the Ministry in the Office of the
    President with the release of a discussion
    document entitled Rural Development Strategy of
    the Government of National Unity. Renewed efforts
    to design a rural strategy were launched under
    the auspices of the Rural Task Team of the RDP
    office. This process led to the publication of
    The Rural Development Framework by the Department
    of Land Affairs in May 1997. This framework
    focused on rural infrastructure, public
    administration, local government, and rural
    non-farm employment, but it was not confirmed as
    government strategy for rural development.

  • The Integrated Sustainable Rural-Development
    Strategy (ISRDS)
  • Confirmed by cabinet as a government strategy
    following President Mbekis State of the Nation
    Address in 1999.
  • The ISRDS mainly draws from the Sustainable Rural
    Livelihoods (SRL) approach with strong emphasis
    on the poverty agenda. According to a 2001 IDT
    Report the ISRDS was designed to realise a vision
    that would attain socially cohesive and stable
    rural communities with viable institutions,
    sustainable economies and universal access to
    social amenities, able to attract and retain
    skilled and knowledgeable people, who are
    equipped to contribute to growth and
  • The Comprehensive Rural Development Programme
    (CRDP) Introduced in 2009 by President Zuma with
    the new Department of Rural Development and Land
    Reform. The key thrust of the framework is an
    integrated programme of rural development, land
    reform and agrarian change .
  • It is therefore fitting and appropriate, that the
    strategy of the Department of Rural Development
    and Land Reform be 'Agrarian Transformation' -
    interpreted to denote 'a rapid and fundamental
    change in the relations (systems and patterns of
    ownership and control) of land, livestock,
    cropping and community.' The objective of the
    strategy is 'social cohesion and development.'
    Minister Nkwintis Budget Speech 24 March 2010

Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP)
  • Minister Nkwintis 2010 Budget Speech highlighted
  • The CRDP has set us on a new course for post
    colonial reconstruction and development. This
    shall be achieved through coordinated and broad
    based agrarian transformation which will focus
  • Building communities through Social mobilization
    and institution building
  • Strategic investment in old and new social,
    economic, ICT infrastructure and public amenities
    and facilities coordinated through the Rural
    Infrastructure Programme
  • A new land reform programme implemented in the
    context of the reviewed Land Tenure System
  • Rendering of professional and technical services
    as well as effective and sustainable resource
    management through the component of Geo-spatial
    Services, Technology Development and Disaster
  • Effective provision of cadastral and deeds
    registry as well as Surveys and Mapping services
  • The Department is committed to the achievement of
    outcome 7 of the 12 outcomes pursued by
    Government over the MTSF period and that is
    'vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural
    communities'. The success of this Department over
    the MTSF period will be measured through delivery
    on the following outputs
  • Sustainable land reform
  • Food security for all
  • Rural development and sustainable livelihoods
  • Job creation linked to skills training.
  • (

  • The South African White Paper on Land Reform
  • The central thrust of land policy is the land
    reform programme. This has three aspects
    redistribution land restitution and land tenure
  • Redistribution refers to the transfer of land to
    recipients who were not necessarily original
    owners, but were nonetheless dispossessed of land
    under apartheid law. It also aims to provide the
    disadvantaged and the poor with access to land
    for residential and productive purposes. Its
    scope includes the urban and rural poor, labour
    tenants, farm workers and new entrants to
  • Land restitution refers to the transfer of land
    back to original owners or their descendents. It
    covers cases of forced removals that took place
    after 1913. This is being dealt with by a Land
    Claims Court and Commission established under the
    Restitution of Land Rights Act 22 of 1994.
  • Land tenure reform is led by a vision of
    flexible tenure regime that legally secures the
    rights of people occupying and using land,
    balancing these rights equitably against rights
    of owners. The intention is to improve tenure
    security of all South Africans and to accommodate
    diverse forms of land tenure, including types of
    communal tenure. According to Hall (2007) tenure
    reform policy was intended to address the chaotic
    state of land administration in the communal
    areas of former homelands coloured reserves.
  • Target transferring 30 of arable land from
    large white-owned farms to black small- holders
    (Extended to 2014).
  • Source The South African White Paper on Land
    Reform,, Ntsebeza Hall (2007)

Source Rural Dev Dept (2010)
GAPS Asset-based Empowerment
  • The World Development Report (WDR 2008) indicates
  • The asset endowments of rural households have
    been low for generations, and they continue to
    decline in places. Market and government failures
    affecting the returns on those assets are
    pervasive. Adverse shocks often deplete already
    limited assets, and the inability to cope with
    shocks induces households to adopt low risk,
    low-return activities (200872).
  • Asset-based empowerment, the causal variables
    critical for self-reliance and sustainability
    (human capabilities, resource access and
    conditions of exchange) Human, social, natural,
    financial and physical capital

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Measuring Human DevelopmentTowards a New Human
Development Dashboard
Empirical Measure Components of Human Development Components of Human Development Components of Human Development
Empirical Measure Health Education Material Goods Political Social Health Education Material Goods Political Social Health Education Material Goods Political Social
Average Level Human Development Index Empowerment Indicators Empowerment Indicators
Deprivation Multidimensional Poverty Index
Vulnerability Indicators of environmental sustainability, human security, well-being , decent work Indicators of environmental sustainability, human security, well-being , decent work Indicators of environmental sustainability, human security, well-being , decent work
Inequality Inequality-adjusted HDI
Inequality Gender Inequality Index Gender Inequality Index
Source Pritchett (2010) in UN HDR (2010)
Value chain System
Source Roduner (2007)
System Failure Interdependency of rural
  • Telecommunication, agro-industry, rural
    electrification, and other development
    initiatives for rural areas are often dependent
    upon each other.
  • development of rural telecommunications programs
    is dependent upon electricity resources in one
    form or another
  • appropriate and adequate water pumping requires
    power for agricultural sector expansion and
  • cottage and other rural industries and
    agro-processing under the form of small rural
    businesses can increase the productivity by using
    mechanized/ electrified technologies and
  • quality of education and healthcare delivery
    systems increase proportionally with improvements
    in RE and other infrastructure investment (CORE,

Factors Affecting Success (Leite Avilla 2006)
  • The presence of a strong governmental structure,
    accompanied by a political will and by legal
    security for the new landowners
  • A favourable macroeconomic policy (interest
    rates, exchange rates, agricultural policy)
  • Technical assistance, support to the organization
    and financial assistance of the beneficiaries (in
    a non-centralized and non-bureaucratic form)
  • Administrative experience of the beneficiaries
    and the requisite infrastructure around their
    farm holdings
  • Economic encouragements to the beneficiaries
    (being their own supervisors ) supporting
    productivity and the creation of non-agricultural
  • The creation of social capital with the
    involvement of the beneficiaries in the decisions
    concerning them
  • An effective agricultural policy (good land
    registration systems, land planning and taxation).

  • Review land reform and agriculture as a defining
    concept of Rural Development (delink)
  • Redefine the driving agenda and the
    interconnectedness of land reform, agricultural
    transformation and Rural Development
  • Recognise and clarify the spatial, policy,
    institutional and relational linkages
    (rural-urban linkages, household-community-municip
    al-provincial-national, rural development policy
    macroeconomic framework)
  • Rural Demography Livelihood Patterns
    Addressing Poverty and Inequality. Poverty
    reduction as a means, not an end, a component of,
    but not a rural development strategy. Households
    as an entry point and unit of analysis for
    enhancing capabilities and sustainable
  • The value of the rural space sustainable
    resources use Leveraging potential to sustain
    livelihoods, nurture socio-cultural coexistence
    and enhance productive potential.
  • Diverse Sector Strategies (beyond farming)
    Critical Sector strategy contributing to
    redress, as a growth-oriented and development
    mechanism (e.g. agriculture) rather than an
    overarching driving agenda. Agrarian
    transformation is thus viewed as a strategic
    transformative mechanism (means and method) and
    not an overall macro-framework for sustainable
    rural development (the end).  

  • Research agenda review to refocus National,
    Regional and Continental Agendas
  • G20 Nations Commit to Growth, Aid for Poor
    Countries (Nov 2010)
  • The new "development consensus" calling for
    "inclusive, sustainable and resilient growth" to
    reduce poverty, asserting that foreign aid
    "remain(s) essential to the development of most
  • The Leaders identified "nine key pillars" which
    required action to remove bottlenecks to growth
    in developing countries.These are
  • Infrastructure, human resource development,
    trade, private investment and job creation, food
    security, growth with resilience, financial
    inclusion, domestic resource mobilization and
    knowledge sharing.
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