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Combining growth and social protection in weakly integrated rural areas

Briefing/policy papers

Written by John Farrington

This paper seeks to contribute to the current reassessment of rural development. Growth-focused strategies, especially for rural Africa, are making a comeback. One important question is what such growth might do to reduce rural poverty, and, increasingly, what potential it offers for reducing the risks of civil strife in neglected areas. For some countries, rural areas will continue to contain the majority of poor for many decades, and the majority of these live in areas weakly integrated into markets, so that the size and timing of impacts from growth in better integrated areas are uncertain. Is social protection (in the form of resource transfers) the only viable strategy for the more remote areas in the meantime, or are there worthwhile interventions for these that promote appropriate agricultural or non-farm growth, perhaps incorporating wider interpretations of social protection? The responses to these questions discussed below are piecemeal and tentative, and some are far from new, but this area of debate is here to stay, and merits more detailed study if the best use is to be made of scarce resources. This paper seeks to contribute to the current reassessment of rural development.

John Farrington and Gerard J. Gill