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Drylands Research Working Paper 40


Livelihood transformations in semi-arid Africa 1960-2000. Policy lessons from farmers' investment strategies in Kenya, Senegal, Niger and northern Nigeria. A Workshop held at the London School of Economics, 17 January, 2001.

Small incremental investments by thousands of families probably exceed in total public sector investments, but they are not easily quantified, and therefore have been neglected in policy recommendations. Given the fall in aid budgets, it is essential that African governments harness the power of such private investments, by enabling policies and through prioritising their own investments and services. The research studies examined the impact of different policies on farmers' ability to invest in livelihood improvements, on- or off-farm. They show that the particular mix of livelihood sources and investments chosen vary according to macro-economic, agricultural, and educational policies.

Working Groups at the Workshop reviewed and debated policy priorities in four fields: conserving and managing natural resources, increasing the value of crops and livestock, developing investment capability and market access, and enhancing human resources and the non-farm sector.