Policy Conference: Policies for a sustainable rural transformation in Africa

Starting June 14, 2022 - Ending June 14, 2023

Policy Conference: Policies for a sustainable rural transformation in Africa

Organized by the Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa (MIASA) in collaboration with the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), both of the University of Ghana, and the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Germany, this first MIASA policy conference on “Policies for a sustainable rural transformation in Africa” is meant to provide a space for exchange between researchers, policymakers, development practitioners, and other stakeholders in rural development to present and discuss the most recent policy-relevant research findings.

Date:  June 22-23, 2022

Venue: ISSER Conference Facilities, University of Ghana

To register, please click here

The program outline can be accessed here.


Concept and contents

Africa’s rural areas have been in a process of continuous change, in particular since the economic reforms of the 1980s and 1990s. In a context of rapid population growth and rural-urban migration, rural livelihoods in many places have changed significantly. They have diversified and farming has become much more commercialized. Yet, smallholder agriculture remains the mainstay of the rural economy and, despite some progress, poverty remains widespread and food security is often not guaranteed. With the population projected to double by 2050, demographic pressure will be reinforced and climate change will massively aggravate the pressure on natural resources, be it land, water or forests. Accelerated rural development, including increased agricultural productivity, that uses natural resources sustainably and protects the environment, in particular remaining forests, is needed. In other words, a sustainable rural transformation is required.

Achieving such a transformation will require developing a vision of this transformation, setting the right priorities, and managing well the potential trade-offs between rural economic progress, on the one hand, and social progress and environmental objectives, on the other hand. It also requires inclusiveness and gender equality. Often, the policy-relevant evidence that research provides on key questions of rural development in Africa is fragmented and comes in bits and pieces. One aim of this conference is therefore to bring together bigger research projects and initiatives and put together a program that goes well beyond a series of paper presentations. We target in particular policymakers and development practitioners.

We plan to have coherent thematic sessions that may include one or several contributions from larger research efforts/projects or be organized by one institution or project. We might then “fill” these sessions with contributed papers. Further, we plan to have keynotes, a high-level policy panel, and a poster session with designated discussants for each of the presented posters. The main issues include, but are not limited to:

- Commercialization, large-scale (foreign) investments

- Agricultural Global Value Chains

- (Intra-) African trade and agriculture

- Contract farming schemes

- Demography, migration, rural-urban interactions

- Climate change and rural development