Relationships between transport, mobility, sustainable livelihoods and social capital for poverty reduction
AbstractThe focus of contemporary development discourse has shifted from economic growth to poverty reduction, leading to development of the Millennium Development Goals. An estimated 1.1 billion people in the world live in absolute poverty, 314 million of whom live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Seventy five percent of the world's poor live in rural areas (World Bank, 2004a). This thesis addresses relationships between accessibility, sustainable livelihoods and social capital, and their role in alleviating poverty by reducing the vulnerability of isolated people. Isolation and inaccessibility to basic needs and services are a cause and symptom of rural poverty. Transport (including infrastructure and means of transport) and mobility (the precondition for people's physical movement) facilitate accessibility and bring people to services and services to people. Transport is nested within a complex mix of livelihood issues that affect mobility and access, including assets and coping strategies. Isolation can increase vulnerability to risk, through an absence of knowledge and communication among poor people, such that external shocks become difficult to manage and can perpetuate the poverty cycle. Social capital provides kinship and friendship resources for managing vulnerability and risk. Transport is a key agency by which social networks can be supported. Drawing on findings from participatory case studies in Zambia, Cameroon and Kenya, the thesis investigates how accessibility, sustainable livelihoods and social capital can be considered collectively by development practitioners to generate measurable improvements in access to basic needs and services. Social capital provides a catalyst for personal mobility and service delivery in the absence of conventionally measured economic benefits. Without the social capital argument the reasons for maintaining rural transport infrastructure and services remain weak. This thesis attempts to break down the boundaries between sociologists, economists and engineers, whose pursuit of development goals has traditionally been in isolation from one another. The thesis suggests that the transport sector move from a position of `isolation' and finds clear interfaces with other sectors delivering on poverty reduction.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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