Social Policy & Rural Development in Africa

In the first phase of subproject B09 of SFB 1342, "Global Development Dynamics of Social Policy," we examined the historical development of social policy in the areas of nutrition, health, and education in six African countries (Egypt, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Uganda). A key finding of this study is that the welfare state in Africa is primarily an urban phenomenon and that modern social policy is highly segmented, favoring the welfare interests of formally employed male workers in the public and private sectors. While this segmentation of the welfare state and its political and socioeconomic legacies have been well researched in recent years, much less is known about social policies in rural Africa.

Therefore, in the second phase, we aim to fill this knowledge gap and examine the role of social policies in rural areas of the Global South in general and in African countries in particular. The main question driving our research is: what social policies have been developed to address the rural social issue in African countries? By examining this question, we aim to identify the relevant causal dynamics and determinants of inclusiveness and service coverage in rural social policies.

Drawing on the concept of "coupled arenas" in internationalized politics, we systematically examine the interplay between international discourses, domestic politics, and local implementations of rural development ideas. First, we highlight rural socioeconomic changes and the transformative dynamics of agricultural policies in Botswana, Mozambique, Morocco, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zambia to illustrate the need for social policies to address rural poverty and exclusion. Second, we comparatively analyze the policy solutions that have been developed in these countries since 2000 in the context of rural development policies.

In terms of research design and methodological orientation, the project includes case studies, process tracing, and case comparisons. The empirical material studied includes public documents and archival sources, descriptive statistics, and primary data from field research, expert interviews, and ethnography.

Project members

Roy Karadag, Sarah Kassim de Camargo Penteado, Klaus Schlichte, Kressen Thyen, Anna Wolkenhauer

Publications relevant to the project

Wolkenhauer, Anna, 2022. The colonial legacies of copper dependence: Inequality and bifurcated social protection in Zambia. In: Nullmeier, Frank, Delia González de Reufels, and Herbert Obinger (eds.): International Impacts on Social Policy: Short Histories in a Global Perspective. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 119-130.

Ayeko-Kümmeth, Jane; Schlichte, Klaus, 2021: The state on the countryside: Food security as social policy in Uganda, SOCIUM SFB 1342 Working Papers/18/2021, Bremen: SOCIUM; SFB 1342, Download PDF.

Devereux, Stephen, and Anna Wolkenhauer, 2021. Agents, Coercive Learning, and Social Protection Policy Diffusion in Africa. IDS Working Paper 559, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/IDS.2021.068.

Ouedraogo, Alex Nadège; Schlichte, Klaus, 2021: Food Policy and State Formation in Senegal and Uganda, in: Global Society, doi:10.1080/13600826.2021.1924632.

Thyen, Kressen; Karadag, Roy, 2021: Between Affordable Welfare and Affordable Food: Internationalized Food Subsidy Reforms in Egypt and Tunisia, in: Social Policy & Administration, online first, doi:10.1111/spol.12710.

Wolkenhauer, Anna, 2021. International Organizations and Food: Nearing the End of the Lean Season? In: Martens, Kerstin/Niemann, Dennis/Kaasch, Alexandra (eds.): International Organizations in Global Social Governance, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 297-321.