Cash, crops and cattle. A study of rural livelihoods in Botswana
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Lack of economic development has lead to a growing scepticism to grand economic development theories and strategies. The focus has shifted towards a more open-ended perspective where the local context and poverty alleviation are in focus. As a result, the new key concepts in the discourse are livelihoods and urban-rural linkages. The academic interest is focused on the question: how are African households surviving given their increasing difficult economic circumstances? In the African context, Botswana is a special case. It is rich; it has a very small and relatively homogenous population and has had a stable democratic development throughout the whole independence period. Situated in the land-locked central part of Southern Africa the peaceful and successful development of Botswana is quite an achievement. However, Botswana’s economic progress and development has not had the anticipated spread effects, from the urban to the rural economy, from the privileged to the poor. Poverty amidst plenty is an often-used slogan to describe the present state of development in Botswana. The development processes is a differentiation process, and at the present stage a number of households live in utmost poverty, whereas Gaborone was given the name Benz City because of the number of Mercedes Benz around. On this background on wealth and poverty, I will show how different groups of rural households are making a living; how the poor are managing to stay alive, how the middle income households are planning for survival and security and how the rich are making sure they stay rich and continue accumulating wealth. In short, the main focus of this report is the livelihood strategies of the rural households.