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Abstract

Across rural Africa, nonagricultural earnings account for roughly one-third of total income. Highly seasonal, nonfarm activity fills in labor troughs in the agricultural calendar. Despite a common emphasis on rural industries, manufacturing typically accounts for only 20-25% of rural nonfarm employment, while trade, transport, construction and other services account for 75-80%. Apart from sorghum beer brewing, rural manufacturing remains limited across most of Africa. Remittances from urban areas prove important in some locations, particularly in areas with large mining labor exports. But, over all, local rural services, commercial and other business activity account for 80% of rural nonfarm earnings.

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