The state of rural poverty, income distribution and rural development in SSA

"In the first section of this paper a detailed rural profile of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is derived on the basis of a new and highly disaggregated data set based on a large number of recent country household surveys. The profile that results from the data analysis is quite bleak and reveals the significantly greater poverty, income inequality and agricultural stagnation in SSA as compared with Asia and other parts of the developing world. The discouraging rural socioeconomic profile that is painted in Section 1 raises two fundamental issues: (1) why did the rural sector in SSA evolve so differently than in other regions and particularly Asia; and, (2) what are the main factors that contributed to or caused the particular rural development path followed by SSA in recent times? Consequently, in Section 2 we explore the major factors that appear to have influenced the African rural sector development path."