Sub-Saharan Africa is known as a part of the world where mobility is severely constrained by lack of transport infrastructure. Livelihood provisioning has historically tended towards household self-sufficiency, given the occupational dominance of smallholder agriculture. However, during the last 25 years of economic recession, structural adjustment, economic liberalisation and political destabilisation, livelihoods have been subject to considerable change. There has been a strong tendency towards de-agrarianisation in the countryside and de-industralisation in the cities. Formal sector jobs have contracted. As a result, a great deal of occupational reorientation has taken place. The 'livelihoods' concept has been developed in the context of efforts to alleviate poverty. Developmental agencies and governments are increasingly using it in the design of policies, projects and programmes. This report, investigates the utility of the livelihoods approach in identifying the mobility and accessibility needs of the poor with particular reference to rural-urban linkages. The mobility patterns and livelihood portfolios of an economically stratified sample of households in corridors in Uganda and Zimbabwe are examined, with emphasis on the poor's position relative to higher income groups. Mobility is vital to individual and household livelihood pursuits, involving travel to paid formal or informal work, travel to agricultural fields, and travel to see family and friends that form one's social network. These social networks may facilitate livelihood opportunities and offer a social security fallback in time of need. The study's methodology and findings demonstrate the importance of understanding mobility with respect to: its contribution to livelihood capability; the importance of locality, accessibility and transport infrastructure in relation to the rural urban spectrum. Location along the rural-urban spectrum has a strong influence on personal livelihood selection and returns to labour; the depth and significance of differentiated mobility by income-earning levels; and the relative immobility of the poor and their restricted transport assets. Various policies to promote mobility for sustainable livelihoods of residents in the transport corridors studied are identified. (A)

Want to know more about this project?