Rural Development Policy Making Tools and Frameworks in Ethiopia

Term Paper, 2018

42 Pages


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Conceptual Issues
2.1. What is policy?
2.2. What is rural development policy?
2.3. Policy making process
2.4. What is rural development?

3. Evolution of rural development policy

4. Approaches to rural development policy

5. Rural development policy making instruments
5.1. General economic and social policy instruments
5.1.1. Fiscal and monetary instruments
5.1.2. Trade and exchange rate instruments
5.1.3. Labor and employment policy instruments
5.1.4. Investment and foreign aid
5.1.5. Population policy instruments
5.1.6. Incomes and equity policy instruments
5.2. Policy instruments related to agricultural and rural development
5.2.1. Rural infrastructure (physical)
5.2.2. Human capital capacity building
5.2.3. Agricultural research and technology development
5.2.4. Instruments related to agricultural Prices
5.2.5. Stabilization and risk in agriculture
5.2.6. Sustainable rural livelihoods
5.2.7. Food and nutrition
5.3. Policy tools related to markets and property rights
5.3.1. Resource property rights
5.3.2. Institutional development
5.4. Policy instruments related to democratic and participatory processes
5.4.1. Decentralization
5.5. Policy instrument related to natural resource use and environmental protection
5.5.1. Direct government action
5.5.2. Control instruments
5.5.3. Economic incentives

6. Rural development policy tools and frameworks in Ethiopia
6.1. Rural development policy tools and frameworks during Imperial regime
6.2. Rural development policy frameworks during Derg regime
6.3. Rural development policy tools and frameworks in EPRDF regime

7. Conclusion


1. Introduction

Rural development policies and practices have passed through various phases. Between 1950s and 1970s, rural development was restricted to development in a single sector (i.e. agriculture) which often includes crop production, fishery, animal husbandry and forestry. However, from the end 1970s and then, rural development was redefined in such a way that include broader issues of rural areas and people such as inequality, participation and asset structure (Berdegue, et al., 2014), poverty, unemployment, and good governance.

Globally about three quarter of population is living in rural areas and accompanied by higher level of poverty (Boto, et al., 2011). Governments of developing countries, particularly in Africa, consider poverty as their top priority policy issue and gear their effort to reduce rural poverty and enhance the living standard of the agrarian society through increasing agricultural productivity and creating favorable condition for the non-farm employment opportunities. Nevertheless, the decisive goal is to brining fundamental change in the rural economy by devising sound policies and implementing broad based rural development initiatives that can change the existing subsistence agriculture in to commercial based on agriculture; which in turn open the room for better agriculture- industry linkage; thereby reducing the share of agriculture in the overall economy.

The government of Ethiopia has recognized that without proactive rural development policies, it is impossible to create a favorable environment for accelerated development and achievement of improvements in the standards of living of the people. Government declared that its main development agenda is poverty reduction and geared all of its development policies and strategies towards this end. Moreover, the government has set a long term vision of becoming a middle income country by the end of 2025. In general, the basic development objectives of the FDRE are: to build a free-market economic system in the country, which will enable the economy to develop rapidly, to extricate itself from dependence on food aid, and to make the poor people to be the main beneficiaries from the fruits of economic growth (MoFED, 2010). Since more than 80% of population lives in rural area, rural development is the nucleus of all development policies and strategies of the country. Effective formulation and implementation rural development policies and strategies in an integrated and inclusive manner at various levels of government administration, is therefore, crucial for eradicating poverty and ensuring sustainable development.

This essay discusses rural development policy making tools/instruments and frameworks. It starts by addressing conceptual issues related to policy, policy making process, policy cycle, and rural development. It also presents rural development approaches, evolution of rural development policies, rural development policy instruments and frameworks, and their application in Ethiopian context.

The main purpose of this essay is to examine the major rural development policy making tools and frameworks in the context of Ethiopia. Key objectives of the paper include the following to: review conceptual issues related to rural policy making and development; evaluate evolution of rural development ideas, practices, and policies; discern rural development policy making tools and frameworks; and review the application of these tools and frameworks in Ethiopian context.

The paper will serve as a material that could provide a precise information that would help readers to have good understanding about conceptual issues related to policy, policy making, rural development, policy making approaches, and policy making tools and frameworks in the area of rural development. It will help to clear the perplexity of equating agricultural development with rural development. Particularly, via this material the following outcomes will be achieve: improved knowledge and understanding of rural development issues; enhanced understanding of rural development approaches; better knowledge about rural development policy making tools and frameworks in the context of developing countries; and improved capacity of using various rural development policy alternatives.

2. Conceptual Issues

2.1. What is policy?

There is no single definition for the term policy and so it means different things to different people. That is why numerous people assert to have diminutive or no comprehension of policy. That is why some people claim that policy hardly has relevance to their work or their lives. However, whether we believe or not, ‘we literally eat, drink and breathe public policy’ (Torjman, 2005:1).

Policy can be defined as those plans, programs, positions and guidelines of government which influence decisions (Farag, 2003). It is a general term used to describe “a formal decision or plan of action adopted by an actor … to achieve a particular goal …” (Richards and Smith, 2002:1). Public policy is a "purposive and consistent course of action produces as a response to a perceived problem of constituency, formulated by a specific political process; adopted, implemented and enforced by a public agency" (Barber, 1984:59).

The different definitions of public policy indicated above and mentioned everywhere in the literature reflect its multi-faceted nature, yet all draw elements of public decisions, choices, positions and statements of intents.

2.2. What is rural development policy?

Rural development policy refers to all aspects of government action that, directly or indirectly, influences the nature of economic and social development in rural areas. It is a policy that directly affects changes in line with unambiguously defined rural development goals (National University of Ireland, 2003). Rural development should be viewed from an integrated spatial perspective which takes account of all policies which have an impact on the rural area.

2.3. Policy making process

Policy making is necessary and prerequisite prior to every action in every nation and form of organization, be it private or public. It is a process that includes the following phases: agenda setting, policy formulation, policy legitimation, implementation, evaluation, and policy maintenance, succession or termination (Cairney, 2012a; lbietan, 2011). Policy making process can be described as ‘policy cycle’ (see Figure 1 below) that includes a series of stages through which a policy travels to translate public demands into policy solutions and outcomes.

Figure 1 Policy Making Cycle

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source: Cairney (2012a: 34)

I. Agenda setting: is the process of listing issues (problems) that warrant serious consideration for the making or remaking of a policy. This phase usually starts from problem identification that demands government consideration, deciding on which issues (problems) require the most attention, and understanding and analyzing the nature of the problem. The placement of the problem on the agenda can be influenced by: the extremity of the effects of a problem; a concentration of unfortunate results in a given environment (area); the range of persons affected by a problem; the intensity of effects; and the visibility of a problem.

II. Policy formulation: this phase includes: setting policy objectives, generating and identifying policy alternatives, identifying and evaluating the cost and benefit of each alternative and estimating the effect of each solution, choosing from a list of policy alternatives and selecting policy instruments .

III. Legitimation: this phase focuses on ensuring that the chosen policy instruments have support. Policy letigimation can entail one or a mixture of: legislative approval, executive approval, looking for approval via public consultation.

IV. Implementation: this is action stage of policy making where institutions or organization responsible for implementation are established or reorganized, making sure that adequate resources are ear marked, and making sure that policy decisions are executed as planned.

V. Monitoring and Evaluation: this phase focuses on ensuing whether policy objectives are achieved or not (mainly in terms of Quantity, Quality, Cost and Time) – monitoring and evaluating the outcome (effect) of the policy on the citizens’ living conditions. In general, it focuses on assessing the extent to which the policy was successful or the policy decision was the correct one.

VI. Policy maintenance, succession or termination: this is the final stage where concerned bodies consider whether the policy is to be continued, modified or discontinued (Cairney, 2012a: 33)

2.4. What is rural development?

Rural development is a branch of development which has its own distinguishing unique features. However, when compared to development, the concept of rural development is much younger (SOAS University of London, n.d.). Literally, the term ‘rural development’ has a neutral connotation referring to development in a geographically specific ‘rural’ area (Takeuchi, 2000). But when we think about ‘rural’ areas what probably first come to our mind is ‘urban’ areas that we contrast the former with the latter. We may draw the image of the former in our mind like plenty of open space areas, either in a natural state or ploughed or occupied by livestock, with poor infrastructure, filled by illiterate people, etc and that of the latter as areas encompassing buildings (commercial and residential), roads, rail ways, highly educated inhabitants, factories, etc. When we conceptualize rural areas like this, what about rural towns?, what about those areas on the periphery of towns and cities where buildings and small plots of cultivated land exist together in industrial estates (SOAS University of London, n.d.). This kind of understanding may make conceptualization of rural development difficult and complicate the identification of cut-off point between the two.

Nevertheless, in the context of development studies, the concept of ‘rural development’ is linked, to a specific policy framework (Takeuchi, 2000). “Rural development came out as a unique hub of policy and research in the 1960s and received complete impetus in the 1970s, as spectators gradually recognized that, while economic growth and industrialization were important, rural areas and rural development had essential and diverse role to play in a country’s development” (SOAS University of London, n.d:16).

More often, the concept of rural development is equated with ‘agricultural development’ or ‘regional development’, though they differ. Agricultural Development merely focuses on a single sector (agriculture) and chiefly aims at rising agricultural products such as crops, livestock, fish and etc where labor, land and capital are purely considered as factors of production. Conversely, Rural Development is a broad, multi dimensional and multi-sectoral concept which primarily targets people and institutions in rural areas. In this case, agricultural development is a sub set of rural development. Regional development is has a wide meaning to describe a certain area in a country or continent. It may encompass rural and urban development (Ibid).

Various definitions of rural development exist in the literature. However, for the sake of this short essay, I shall focus on the following two definitions that I think will possibly capture the key issues in rural development policy making. Although these few definitions do not explicitly address environmental issues without which rural development is impossible. World Bank (1975:3) defines rural development as “a strategy aiming at the improvement of economic and social living conditions, focusing on a specific group of poor people (such as small-scale farmers, tenants and the landless) in a rural area. It assists the poorest group among the people living in rural areas to benefit from development”. O’Hagan (2000:252) defines it comprehensively as “seeking to sustain vibrant rural communities with a balanced structure of age, income and occupational groups, capable of adapting to on-going economic, social, and cultural, and environmental (my emphasis) change, enjoying a high standard of living and an attractive quality of life and with sufficient income and employment opportunities to allow individuals and families to live with dignity.” In general rural development is improvement in livelihood of people in rural areas in such a way that do not harm the natural environment.

3. Evolution of rural development policy

To thoroughly understand rural development policy making processes, tools and frameworks, it is imperative to briefly examine how rural development ideas and practices are evolved over the past half century. It is clear from the development literature that the periods between 1950s and 60s were characterized by modernization, 1970s was dominated by state intervention, 1980s by market liberalization, 1990s was characterized by participation and empowerment, and 2000s was characterized by sustainable livelihoods and good governance (see Figure 2 below). Although ideas and practices of rural development policies did not, in reality, go through these transitions in such an orderly way. Moreover, awareness and practices of rural development are differing across diverse disciplines, centers of learning, influential think-tanks, international agencies and national governments (Ellis and Biggs, 2001). Some ideas and thinking transcend across decades and influence rural development policies and practices.

The dominant idea during 1950s was that low income countries are characterized by what is so called ‘traditional’ or ‘subsistence’ agriculture. This idea was embodied in theories of dual-economy which argue that the agricultural sector has trivial prospects for increasing productivity or growth, and so could play merely a passive role in the process of economic development by providing raw materials and labor to the modern sector of the economy until the latter ultimately stretched to take up the place of the former. Besides manufacturing industry, the modern sector is envisaged to contain large – scale mechanized agriculture (such as plantations, estates, commercial farms and ranches) in addition to manufacturing industry. However, during 1960s there was paradigm shift in rural development thinking where the emphasis on large scale agriculture was switched to small-farm agriculture and the latter was considered as an engine of economic growth (Ellis and Biggs, 2001; Harriss, 1982). Even if such shift was occurred during 1960s, the idea that large-scale modern agriculture was more efficient than the traditional peasant sector had transcended into the 1970s and whispered to exist till today. As Rondinelli (1983) and Mosse et al. (1998) clearly noted, another important ‘paradigm shift’ was occurred during the 1980s and 1990s from the top-down or ‘blueprint’ approach to rural development (that is exemplified by exterior technologies and national-level policies, to the bottom-up, grassroots, or ‘process’ approach which encourages participatory process and empowerment of the rural poor.

Figure 2: Rural development ideas timeline

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source: Adopted from Ellis F. and Biggs S. (2001)

In general, economic and agricultural development theories have significantly influenced rural development policies as well as practices of donors throughout the past half-century. Figure 3 below summarizes the evolution of the dominant themes in rural development that have been bases for policy making in the past six decades.

Figure 3: Dominant Themes in Rural Development

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source: Adopted from Ellis F. and Biggs S. (2001)

Figure 3 above shows a series of overlapping transitions that have occurred in poor countries over the past six decades. For example, there was transition from community development during 1950s to the emphasis on small-farm growth 1960s; ongoing small-farm growth within integrated rural development during 1970s; transition from state-led rural development during 1970s to market liberalization in 1980s; process, participation, empowerment and actor approaches dominated 1980s and 1990s; the emergence of sustainable livelihoods as an integrating framework during 1990s; and incorporation of rural development in poverty reduction strategy papers during 2000s.


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Rural Development Policy Making Tools and Frameworks in Ethiopia
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rural, development, policy, making, tools, frameworks, ethiopia
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Amanuel Kussia (Author), 2018, Rural Development Policy Making Tools and Frameworks in Ethiopia, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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