The Brussels Development Briefing no. 48 on “Strengthening rural livelihoods in the face of rapid urbanisation in Africa” took place on 20th March 2017 from 14:00 to 18:00, at the ACP Secretariat (Avenue Georges Henri 451, 1200 Brussels, Room C). This Briefing was co-organised by CTA, BMZ/GIZ, the ACP Secretariat, European Commission (DG DEVCO) and Concord .

**Twitter: share your ideas and questions using the hashtag #BB48 and follow @brubriefings **

Rural areas in many African countries are undergoing manifest transformation processes fuelled by dynamics such a population growth, urbanisation and increasing mobility. The relationship between rural and urban areas is changing and the rural-urban divide is fading, with increasing flows of people, goods and services between the two and the emergence of new migratory and livelihoods patterns. Next to the growth of capital and major cities, much of the urbanization witnessed in African countries has taken place in the continuum of rural areas with villages, towns and smaller cities below 500,000 inhabitants, fuelled in part by better infrastructure and digital connectivity as well as the search for economic opportunity. Rural towns and smaller cities have the potential to invigorate rural areas in their function as market hubs and basic service provision. Yet fulfilling such functions requires considerable investment and local institutional capacity as well as clear political commitment.  Strengthening rural-urban linkages in terms of infrastructure, transport, market access and exchange of information, ideas and innovation can catalyse economic development in rural areas and provide future perspectives for rural population and especially youth. Rural development strategies should therefore consider some of the following opportunities:

  • New income-generating opportunities in food systems as a result of changing urban consumption patterns
  • Investing in towns and intermediary cities as hubs for economic growth and service delivery for rural areas
  • Boosting agricultural productivity and attracting youth to farming
  • Supporting job creation in the rural non-farm economy and enabling diversified and multi-local livelihood strategies

NEWon Rural-Urban Linkages


Programme and Background Note




Biodata of the speakers 


Press & Media:
– OECD SWAC article “Brussels Briefing: Rural-urban links” (2017)

More info:

– Spore interview with Dimakatso (Nono) Sekhoto: From finance to farming (2017)
– CTA interview with Steve Wiggins Rural-urban links – opportunities for farmers (2017)
– Brussels Briefing 24:  Major drivers for rural transformation in Africa (2011)
– Spore Magazine No. 180 The Connected Farmer: A new opportunity for the agricultural system (2016)
– Spore Magazine No. 176 Marketing and packaging: the retail revolution (2015)
– ICT Update Issue 77 Linking farmers to Markets (2014)
– Spore Magazine No. 157 Urban Agriculture: City farmers (2012)


13h00-14h00 Registration and light Lunch
14h00-14h30 Introduction of the Briefing Isolina Boto, Manager, CTA Brussels Office  [video]

Introductory remarks: Olusola Ojo, Expert Sustainable Economic Development and Trade, ACP Secretariat [video]; Annelene Bremer, Senior Policy Officer, Rural Development, Land Rights, Forestry, BMZ [info|video]; Michael Hailu, Director, CTA [video]

14h30-16h00 Panel 1: Potential of closer rural-urban linkages for rural transformation and job creation
Chair: Michael Hailu, Director, CTA
– Fostering Rural-Urban links and the implications for the rural economy
Steve Wiggins, Senior Researcher, ODI [presentation|video]

– Employment opportunities in West African food systems
Thomas Allen, Economist, Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat, OECD SWAC [presentation|video]

– Agri-Business-Led Employment for Youth in African Agriculture: new opportunities
Edson Mpyisi, Principal Agricultural Economist, Coordinator, Agropoles and Agro-Industrial Parks, Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department, African Development Bank Group  [presentation|video]

– Applying a territorial lens to rural development: West Kenya portfolio
Petra Jacobi, Project Manager, GIZ  [presentation|video]

Questions and Answers panel 1 [video]

16h00-16h15 Coffee Break

16h15-18h00 Panel 2: Creating opportunities for rural youth in transforming food systems
Chair: H.E. Mr Amadou Diop, Ambassador of Senegal to the EU
– Fostering employment through territorial development
Denis Pesche, sociologist at CIRAD and member of the Research Unit ART-Dev “Actors, Resources and Territories in Development’ (Montpellier University)  [presentation|video]

– Opportunities for young entrepreneurs in serving urban or semi-urban markets
Nono Dimakatso Sekhoto, African Farmers’ Association of South Africa  [presentation|video]

– Adding value to local products for urban markets
Omar Ouedraogo, Fédération des professionnels agricoles du Burkina (FEPAB)  [presentation|video]

Questions and Answers panel 2 [video]

Closing remarks
H.E. Mr Amadou Diop, Ambassador of Senegal to the EU [video]
Michael Hailu, Director, CTA [video]

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