Illicit livelihoods: drug crops and development in Africa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
327 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-189
Number of pages16
JournalReview of African Political Economy
Issue number148
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2016


  • cannabis
  • development
  • drugs
  • khat


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