Drawing on work commissioned by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to help its forward planning, this paper asks how the rural poor might benefit more fully from global economic processes. It argues that, whilst the scope for the more entrepreneurial to link into value chains associated with either agriculture or the nonfarm rural economy is present, its relevance for many of the rural poor is questionable. There is, however, substantial scope for labourers to participate in activities influenced by globalisation.
Policies therefore need to support temporary and permanent migration from rural to urban areas. As a prior condition for the design and implementation of such policies, political mindsets need to be changed to give fuller recognition to the value of such labour in supporting economic modernisation.