Job Futures: Agriculture, rural transformation and employment (part of SFB 228 Future Rural Africa)


Labor markets, income diversification, gender, social welfare


Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia


Households in rural Africa typically have diversified income sources. Beyond own farm production, many also work on other farms as agricultural laborers, have formal or informal employment in other sectors, or pursue self-employed business activities. With rapidly rising population numbers, the diversification of income and employment sources in rural Africa – also beyond the agricultural sector – will likely continue in the coming years and decades. Sufficient generation of decent employment in various rural sectors could contribute to sustainable structural transformation and development, whereas inadequate job availability could perpetuate poverty and natural resource degradation. Hence, studying employment trends and the factors that influence current and future job availability, accessibility, and quality needs to be an integral element of “future-making” research in rural Africa. This project collects and uses data from four Eastern and Southern African countries – Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, and Zambia – to provide insights under diverse agroecological and socioeconomic conditions. The following research questions are addressed: (1) What income and employment sources do rural households and individuals have, and how are these sources associated with economic and social welfare? (2) To what extent are employment patterns associated with the use of specific agricultural technologies and innovations? (3) What role do rural infrastructure and institutions play? (4) How do labour conditions compare in relevant rural sectors? (5) What are conducive household-level and contextual conditions for sustainable job futures?


Together with local partners we collect household- and individual-level data as well as employer data through structured personal interviews. Statistical models are developed and estimated to analyze people’s access to different types of employment, determinants of participation, labor conditions, and effects on income, food security, gender roles, and inequality. Employment trends and their drivers are analyzed with panel data.

Main Cooperation Partners

  • University of Bonn
  • University of Cologne
  • University of Nairobi, Kenya
  • Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania
  • University of Namibia, Namibia
  • University of Zambia, Zambia
Main Funding Partners

German Research Foundation (DFG)

Duration of the Project

2022 - 2025

Project Homepage


Matin Qaim

Prof. Dr. Matin Qaim


Project Homepage
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