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Illicit livelihoods: drug crops and development in Africa

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Publication details

JournalReview of African Political Economy
DateAccepted/In press - 23 Mar 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 27 Jun 2016
Issue number148
Pages (from-to)174-189
Early online date27/06/16
Original languageEnglish


This article assesses the impact of drugs on agricultural production, trade and livelihoods more broadly by focussing on cannabis and khat in Lesotho, Nigeria and Kenya. It actively engages with research that has recently begun to explore the links between drugs and development in Africa and challenges some of its key assumptions. It argues that based on the available empirical evidence, the causalities between drugs and underdevelopment are not always apparent. It proposes a more nuanced understanding of the economic impact of cannabis and khat and shows how they have provided farmers and entrepreneurs with opportunities not readily available in difficult economic environments.

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© 2016 ROAPE Publications Ltd This is an author-produced version of a paper accepted for publication. Uploaded with permission of the publisher/copyright holder. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details. Embargo period: 18 months.

    Research areas

  • drugs trade, AFRICA, DEVELOPMENT


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