Synthesis Paper: South Africa

Type Working Paper - Unpublished Paper
Title Synthesis Paper: South Africa
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
Page numbers 0-0
Historically, the rural areas of South Africa were characterised by unusually high levels of poverty and joblessness, combined with very limited employment in agriculture. This situation largely reflected economic structures shaped by colonialism and apartheid. In particular, the apartheid system established from 1948 aimed to force much of the African population into rural reserves, which the state called “homelands” or “Bantustans.”1 The result was a dualised system on the land. An advanced and diversified commercial farming sector, based in large part on poorly-paid farm labour, stretched around impoverished, often densely populated communities with limited natural resources and government services. After the transition to democracy in 1994, the main challenge for rural development was to end the marginalisation of the rural poor, both the impoverished in the former Bantustans and farmworkers. That, in turn, required significant changes in access to resources, including land and water; significant improvements in the provision of education and skills; transformation of market institutions to make them serve smaller producers; and improvements in rural infrastructure and other government services.

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