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Abstract

In this paper we investigate livelihood and poverty dynamics in the Senegal River Delta area in Senegal over a period of seven years. We use household survey data from two panel rounds in 2006 and 2013 and a cluster analysis to reveal which livelihood strategies and development processes have been most important in poverty reduction. We find that income growth in the region was rather modest but poverty decreased much more rapidly than in Senegal and Sub- Saharan Africa in general. We find that moving out of agriculture into wage employment in horticultural export companies and local service sectors has by far been the most successful strategy to move out of poverty for rural households. The ongoing structural transformation process in the region, that has been triggered by the development of export chains and the creation of employment in these chains, contributed importantly to rural income growth and poverty reduction. Agricultural intensification and upgrading of domestic agri-food chains are lagging behind and have not been major driving forces of income growth and poverty reduction. Our results support the view that moving out of agriculture can be a valid pro-poor rural development strategy. Moving up in agriculture remains necessary for further poverty reduction in the Senegal River Delta.

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