How can we track change in poor rural areas where data are scarce? How do we know what general economic growth does to places which are considered rural backwaters? As poorer countries try to transform their economies, and as economies appear to be rebounding across Africa, what is that doing to the rural poor? Prosperity in Rural Africa? provides surprising and challenging answers to these questions. It brings together the expertise of a collection of researchers with decades of experience of working in Tanzania, all of whom faced a deceptively simple task: go back to your study sites, to the places you know well, and to the families you first visited and then describe, and try to explain, the changes that you see. The result is a fascinating compilation of insights and experience into the dynamics of rural societies in Tanzania, which highlights the importance of investment in assets for rural peoples and their success in doing so, largely through their endeavours in small-holder farming. Assets are centrally important to local definitions of wealth across the country. This matters a great deal because rural people's investment in assets is not counted when poverty lines are calculated. There are sound methodological reasons for this omission. But it means that when rural people invest in assets, then that growing prosperity is invisible in development data. This book shows what those data can miss. This is an open access title available under the terms of a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International licence. It is free to read at Oxford Scholarship Online and offered as a free PDF download from OUP and selected open access locations.
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