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Rural Infrastructure and Agricultural Development in Southern Africa: A Centre-Periphery Perspective

Sudhir Wanmali and Yassir Islam
The Geographical Journal
Vol. 163, No. 3 (Nov., 1997), pp. 259-269
Published by: geographicalj
DOI: 10.2307/3059722
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3059722
Page Count: 11
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Rural Infrastructure and Agricultural Development in Southern Africa: A Centre-Periphery Perspective
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Abstract

This paper discusses the provision of rural infrastructure in Southern Africa by drawing on two case studies from Zimbabwe and Zambia. It takes the centre-periphery model of regional development as a point of departure for explaining the differences between communal or smallholder African farming areas and large-scale commercial European farming areas in both countries. It observes that the imbalances noted in rural infrastructure provision between different regions are a function of colonial modes of production, agro-ecological endowments and levels of agricultural development. It finds strong similarities in these aspects between the two countries. The importance of developing peripheral agricultural areas, largely the domain of smallholder farmers, is discussed in the context of overall regional development. The policy implications of the centre-periphery perspective for infrastructure provision are presented. These include the need for both private and public sector investment, and comprehensive planning policies that are cognizant of the variations in the centre-periphery model as observed in the two countries.

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