PEP special journal issue on productive rural employment in sub-Saharan Africa

January 2024

Research from five PEP-supported studies is highlighted in a special issue of the Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies

A special issue of the Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies (JADEE) spotlights PEP research on productive rural employment in sub-Saharan Africa.

Volume 14, Issue 1 of JADEE—entitled “Productive employment in rural farm and non-farm sectors in sub-Saharan Africa”—features four articles based on research supported under the final round of PEP’s 10-year flagship Policy Analysis on Growth and Employment (PAGE) program, and a meta-analysis of these studies plus another 10 from the PAGE program.

These articles analyse a range of policy options, looking at how access to resources (land and financing) and public investment (for rural electrification and fertilizer subsidies) can increase productive employment in rural areas. The journal issue also includes one complementary non-PEP paper that brings in the aspect of entrepreneurial competency.

Considering the effects of gender, sector of activity, and climate shocks, the studies included in the issue collectively underscore the importance of targeted policies and interventions. They show how good targeting can improve employment, empower women, promote agricultural development, and reduce poverty in rural areas.

Alphonse Singbo, a resource person in PEP’s Microeconomic Analysis scientific support team and co-author of the meta-analysis, led the initiative to produce this special issue.

“[Producing the special issue] has been a challenge but also a satisfactory one. It has been a learning process for me and we have a good outcome, adding value to the work we are doing at PEP,” said Dr Singbo.

The road to this PEP special issue of JADEE began in 2021, as the PAGE program drew to a close. Dr Singbo led the meta-analysis of 14 projects supported under the third and final round of PAGE. These projects undertook gender-sensitive analyses looking at aspects of entrepreneurship, financial inclusion and rural employment in Africa.

Dr. Singbo described how the idea for a special issue came about: “As we went through the papers for the meta-analysis, we asked: could there be a special journal issue there? So I started contacting agricultural economics journals.”

Several factors went into choosing the papers to be included in the issue. “We needed to consider the quality of the papers and the scope of the journal. The authors also had to be invited and be willing to revise their work,” explained Dr. Singbo.

Dr. Singbo described how preparing the working papers for publication in a journal adds value to PEP’s work. “With support from PEP and the mentorship process, we were able to level up the work by local researchers to have good quality papers,” he said. “This issue demonstrates PEP’s value as a research platform, generating high quality research.”

Dr. Singbo worked with his meta-analysis co-author Jourdain Lokossou and PEP Research Co-Director Luca Tiberti as the guest editors of this special issue, penning an editorial that takes a broad view of the papers included. “Yes there are common trends, but they are also very context-specific.” said Dr. Singbo.

He concluded: “There is no one solution to productive employment issues but we have identified pathways and factors that determine policy effectiveness. As such, this issue could be useful for policymakers.”


View the PEP Special Issue at


The PEP projects included in this issue

Policy interventions and productive employment in rural sub-Saharan Africa: a gender-differentiated meta-analysis by Alphonse Singbo and Jourdain Lokossou

Working paper 2022-06   Journal Article

Rural electrification and women's empowerment in Côte d’Ivoire by Jean-Louis Bago, Wadjamsse Djezou, Luca Tiberti, Landry Achy

Working paper 2021-08    Journal Article

Pro-gender policies and the empowerment of women in the DRC by Christian Lukineyo Joshi, Helene Maisonnave, Robert Luanda Baroki, Mariam Anastasie Bulumba

Working paper 2021-14   Journal Article

Rural non-farm engagement and agriculture commercialization in Ghana by Paul Kwame Nkegbe, Abdelkrim Araar, Benjamin Musah Abu, Yazidu Ustarz, Hamdiyah Alhassan, Edinam Dope Setsoafia, Shamsia Abdul-Wahab

Working paper 2018-07    Journal Article

Women's Employment in Rural Senegal: What Can We Learn from Non-farm Diversification Strategies? By Thierno Malick Diallo, Amoudath Adebomi Mazu, Abdelkrim Araar, Abdoulaye Dieye

Working paper 2021-16    Journal Article



Logo global affairs canada
Logo Hewlett Foundation
Logo Co-Impact
Logo IDRC - CRDI Canada
Logo Mastercard Foundation