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Book Chapter

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Oxford Handbook Of Africa And Economics


This chapter documents and analyzes the predominance of informal employment in Africa and shows that lack of demand for labor rather than worker characteristics is the main reason for pervasive underemployment. Integration into the global economy and exports of labor-intensive products are vital to boosting the demand for labor in Africa. Africa has some potential to become competitive in light manufacturing, but the most promising avenue for export-led growth of employment in many African countries is agriculture, including traditional cash crops such as cotton, coffee, cocoa, and groundnuts. Traditional cash crops, which are the source of livelihood for millions of Africans, have many of the features of manufacturing exports: high labor intensity, potential for quality improvements through technological transfer, and quality-sensitive markets in developed countries. Improvements in the business climate are the key to boosting investment and technology transfer in labor-intensive tradable industries, and thus raising labor demand and employment.


unemployment, underemployment, Africa, labor markets, dualism, informal employment, agriculture, export-led growth, agricultural exports, manufacturing

Published By

Oxford University Press


C. Monga And J. Y. Lin


This material was originally published in The Oxford Handbook of Africa and Economics edited by Célestin Monga and Justin Yifu Lin, and has been reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press. For permission to reuse this material, please visit

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