Rural Livelihood Diversification in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Literature Review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article provides a comprehensive review of the literature on the nature and evolution of rural
livelihood diversification in sub-Saharan Africa, and the situation regarding smallholders. It reveals mixed
findings about the causes and consequences of livelihood diversification on rural smallholders adopting this
strategy. A lot of evidence from the literature suggests that it is relatively better-off smallholders with sufficient
assets who achieve successful livelihood diversification, mainly by exploiting opportunities and synergies between
farm and nonfarm activities. Because of asset constraints, increase in incomes and wealth based on livelihood
diversification has not yet benefitted the large majority of smallholders.


  • Sarah Harriet Alobo Loison
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social and Economic Geography
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1125-1138
JournalJournal of Development Studies
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Aug 13
Publication categoryResearch