Sub-Saharan Employment Developments: The Important Role of Household Enterprises with an Application to Rwanda


Alun H. Thomas

Publication Date:

August 3, 2015

Electronic Access:

Free Download. Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF file

Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate


This paper documents the structural transformation in employment that has taken place in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) over the past 15 years. In contrast to Asian economies, where at least half of the labor flows out of agriculture have gone into industry, in SSA, most of the workers have ended up in the service sector, especially household enterprises. Rwanda has been one of the stellar performers in SSA in terms of structural transformation with the strongest movement of workers out of agriculture. Contrary to conventional wisdom, except for the very top of the distribution of consumption in Rwanda, families in household enterprises now consume as much as non-agricultural wage earners.


Working Paper No. 2015/185



Publication Date:

August 3, 2015



Stock No:




Please address any questions about this title to