Inside Poverty and Development in Africa

Critical Reflections on Pro-poor Policies


When discussing development issues in Africa, it is not sufficient to simply stress the ubiquity of failure, malnutrition, disease, predatory states and war; one also has to recognize that important aspects in the lives of millions of ordinary people have been transformed over the last five decades. The contributions in this book are rooted in extensive empirical research at local, regional and/or national level in different African countries (Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, South Africa and Uganda), while some take a pan-African view. All, however, offer insight from different analytical perspectives into the heterogeneity of poverty and development processes in Sub-Saharan Africa and confront the ideas, concepts and assumptions that lie behind pro-poor policies. The volume also encourages policy makers to choose realistic policy prescriptions in an attempt to move people out of poverty.

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Biographical Note

Marcel Rutten is a geographer at the African Studies Centre. Since the early 1980s he has conducted longitudinal research on land tenure, water development, and tourism in Africa. His interest is also directed to Kenyan politics. Ongoing research comprises sustainable water infrastructure (i.e. shallow wells), and drought planning strategies among Maasai pastoralists. He is also involved in a comparative study of the development trajectories of four African and four Asian countries.

André Leliveld is an economist at the African Studies Centre. Since the late 1980s he has conducted research on (informal) social security arrangements in Africa. His interest is also directed to the effectiveness of development aid to Africa. Ongoing research comprises (micro) insurance in Uganda and community-based health insurance in Africa. He is also involved in a comparative study of the development trajectories of four African and four Asian countries.

Dick Foeken is a human geographer at the African Studies Centre, where his main research interests are urban poverty, urban agriculture and urban water supply in Africa. For the past ten years he has been involved in two major projects, the ‘Nakuru Urban Agriculture Research Project’ (NUAP) in Kenya and ‘Sustainable Urban Agriculture’ in Tanzania.

Review Quotes

Review in: African Studies Review Vol. 53, no. 1.

‘The book is a welcome attempt to combine nuanced understandings of conditions and strategies of the poor with current policies seeking to reduce poverty. It documents convincingly that there is substantial room for improvement in internationally acclaimed policies like the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s “small-farmer” model of poverty reduction and the World Bank–promoted “Poverty Reduction Strategy” papers, as well as in policies of more national or even local origin such as natural resource management programs and urban by-laws. Moreover, several chapters are highly critical of the proposition that the formalization of property rights is of any help to the poor’.

Table of contents

Maps vii
Photographs vii
Figures viii
Boxes viii
Tables ix
1 Introduction: Inside poverty and development in Africa 1
Marcel Rutten & André Leliveld
2 Natural resource management and poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa 25
Philip Woodhouse
3 Confusing counts, correlates and causes of poverty: A study of the PRSP in Lesotho 57
Deborah Johnston & John Sender
4 Why De Soto’s ideas might triumph everywhere but in Kenya: A review of land-tenure policies among Maasai pastoralists 83
Marcel Rutten
5 Political instability, chronic poverty and food production systems in central Chad 119
Han van Dijk
6 Promises of economic development in the Great Limpopo, Southern Africa: Networks and partnerships in
transfrontier conservation 144
Marja Spierenburg, Conrad Steenkamp & Harry Wels
7 The social security function of land in Mbarara Distrcict in Uganda 169
André Leliveld
8 Intra-household differences in coping with illness in rural Ethiopia 201
Marleen Dekker
9 Urban agriculture and the urban poor: Does policy matter? 225
Dick Foeken
10 Livelihoods and income diversification among artisanal fishers on the Kenyan coast 255
Jan Hoorweg, Barasa Wangila & Allan Degen
11 The MDG on poverty and hunger: How reliable are the hunger estimates? 273
Wijnand Klaver & Maarten Nubé
List of authors 303


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