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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Journal of Political Ecology
Title Urban-rural linkages as an urban survival strategy among urban dwellers in Botswana: the case of Broadhurst residents
Volume 10
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2003
Page numbers 37-46
Urban dwellers, particularly the urban poor, maintain strong linkages with the rural areas as a
survival strategy. The strengthening and adaptation of urban-rural linkages represents vital safety
valves and welfare options for urban people who are vulnerable to economic fluctuations. As an
economic survival strategy, urban-rural linkages have assumed new importance with rising urban
poverty across most of Africa (O’Connor, 1991). Urban poverty is now thought to surpass rural
poverty in many African countries. The precarious economic situation in most African cities is
likely to enhance the significance of urban-rural social ties. In the city most migrants, even when
they manage to support a family, enjoy little economic security and at times face uncertain
political conditions. Unemployment and underemployment are widespread but there is no
unemployment compensation. For many migrants, therefore, links with the village of birth provide
the only source of economic security. Not knowing when they may experience an economic
setback in the city, they maintain ties with villagers as a resource pool that can be taken advantage
of during bad times. Such ties assure them a measure of security, which is more reliable than what
the city offers most of its citizenry.
The focus of this paper is the nature and extent of urban-rural linkages that characterise the
residents of Broadhurst in Gaborone, Botswana and how these can be perceived as a survival
strategy. It utilises data from a household survey conducted amongst the residents of Broadhurst.
The paper is organised into four sections. The first section presents a broad overview of urbanrural
linkages across sub-Saharan Africa while section two discusses the methodology utilised by
this study. Section three focuses on the urban-rural linkages construed in terms of property
ownership and involvement in economic activities in rural areas; participation in social activities;
exchange of money, goods, and visits; and advice-seeking patterns. The third section presents the

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