Non-farm entrepreneurship in rural sub-Saharan Africa: New empirical evidence

Paula Nagler*, Wim Naudé

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We report on the prevalence and patterns of non-farm enterprises in six sub-saharan african countries, and study their performance in terms of labor productivity, survival and exit, using the world bank’s living standards measurement study - integrated surveys on agriculture (lsms-isa). Rural households operate enterprises due to both push and pull factors and tend to do so predominantly in easy-to-enter activities, such as sales and trade, rather than in activities that require higher starting costs, such as transport services, or educational investment, such as professional services. Labor productivity differs widely: rural and female-headed enterprises, those located further away from population centers, and businesses that operate intermittently have lower levels of labor productivity compared to urban and male-owned enterprises, or enterprises that operate throughout the year. Finally, rural enterprises exit the market primarily due to a lack of profitability or finance, and due to idiosyncratic shocks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-191
JournalFood Policy
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Enterprise performance
  • Informal sector
  • Rural development
  • Self-employment
  • Small businesses
  • Sub-Saharan Africa


Dive into the research topics of 'Non-farm entrepreneurship in rural sub-Saharan Africa: New empirical evidence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this