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Illicit livelihoods: drug crops and development in Africa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-189
Number of pages16
JournalReview of African Political Economy
Issue number148
DateAccepted/In press - 22 Mar 2016
DatePublished (current) - 2 Apr 2016


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.

    Research areas

  • cannabis, development, drugs, khat

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    Rights statement: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Taylor & Francis at . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 349 KB, PDF document

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