The Spatial Dimension of the Non-Farm Economy in Uganda


This review has been conducted as part of a study of the capacity of poor people to access sustainable rural non- farm economic (RNFE) opportunities and the specific role of local governance. The purpose of the research, implemented by the Natural Resources Institute of the UK, and funded by the British Government Department for International Development (DFID) in collaboration with the World Bank (WB), is to inform and assist the Government of Uganda, DFID and the WB in formulating pro-poor RNFE policies.

This paper aims to draw out and synthesise findings from primary and secondary data sources regarding the importance of the spatial dimension of the non-farm economy. The importance of the spatial dimensions is highlighted by Ellis (1998) stating that ‘‘in Africa, the prime causes of rural poverty are locational, and reflect not so much access to land, but location-specific lack of access to an array of facilities and opportunities (roads, schools, market services, input suppliers, power, non- farm activities) as well as environmental constraints” (p.10). The first section of the paper presents an overview of the broader debate on rural- urban linkages, and the history of the spatial dimension of policy and planning initiatives (Section 2). This is followed by a review of the rural- urban divide in Uganda, and the location and linkages of the RNFE (Sections 2 and 3). Section 4 highlights the impact that spatial and non-spatial policy and planning processes in Uganda have had on the RNFE. The paper is concluded by a summary of the findings and relevant policy recommendations and indications of where further research may be focused.


Smith, D.R. The Spatial Dimension of the Non-Farm Economy in Uganda. Natural Resources, Institute, Chatham, UK (2003) 32 pp. [NRI Report No: 2673]

The Spatial Dimension of the Non-Farm Economy in Uganda

Published 1 January 2003