In this section, you may find new materials that have been published on the topic of Strengthening rural livelihoods in the face of rapid urbanisation in Africa, since the date of the event. We continually select major new publications and articles that add up to the policy points discussed in this briefing.

Guiding Principles for Urban-Rural Linkages to Advance Integrated Territorial Development, 2018

The Guiding Principles and Framework for Action project build on a growing understanding of how urbanization is reshaping the world’s urban and rural landscapes. While urbanization has brought prosperity to many regions there is also a growing and increasingly severe development gap between urban and rural areas which demands new integrated policy and action. UN-Habitat has initiated and convened the process to develop “Guiding Principles for Urban-Rural Linkages”, convening diverse actors ranging from experts working in the field of urban, rural, and territorial development, as well as representatives of national and sub-national governments, development partners, think tanks, academia and intergovernmental organizations. Over 125 organizations and individuals have been participating to date and are invited to register for this global consultation through the end of May 2018 in the “contact” page of this website.

Why linking rural and urban areas matters for development: a Ghana case study, 06/09/2018

There’s rapid urbanisation happening across Africa. But the rural population hasn’t stopped growing. In fact, Africa is considered a rural continent – only 43% of its total population lives in cities and towns. Often policies focus on rural areas, or urban expansion. In fact the key issue for regional development is to take into account the relationships and linkages between the two. This includes the flow of people, information, goods and services between rural and urban areas. Vibrant local economies and regional growth depend on the inter dependency between local production in rural areas, the urban market and enterprises. In our study we set out to discover how these interconnections can promote local businesses in rural areas of the Ejisu-Juaben municipality outside Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest city. We found that people living in rural areas were attempting to diversify their livelihoods through agro-processing, manufacturing and services. But poor infrastructure limited their ability to link to the urban centre. This in turn held back the area’s economic development.

Agriculture, Food and Jobs in West Africa, 05/04/2018

The food economy is the biggest employer in West Africa accounting for 66% of total employment. While the majority of food economy jobs are in agriculture, off-farm employment in food-related manufacturing and service activities is increasing as the food economy adapts to rapid population growth, urbanisation and rising incomes. Given the importance of the food economy in generating employment, its current structure and projected changes have major implications for the design of jobs strategies. This paper quantifies and describes the structure of employment in the food economy across four broad segments of activities: agriculture, processing, marketing and food-away-from home. It also examines some of the emerging spatial implications, in particular rural-urban linkages and rural employment diversification, which are related to the transformations that are reshaping this sector. Finally, it looks at policy considerations for designing targeted employment strategies that leverage the links between agricultural productivity, off-farm employment and rural-urban areas and ensure inclusiveness, particularly for youth and women.

Food systems for an urbanizing world : knowledge product, 20/11/2017

The report is organized into seven chapters, as follows, with additional text supported by data in the annexes: this first chapter sets out the context for the report, presents the objectives, outlines the methodology and approach, and briefly introduces the scope and organization. Chapter two looks at the key drivers and underlying trends that are already shaping the agenda or will influence the future of urban food issues. Chapter three pulls together relevant data and information to describe the structure and performance of the three interrelated channels in urban food system, traditional, modern and informal, the latter catering primarily to the urban poor. Chapter four introduces the transform framework of the interlinked food system outcome areas related to job creation, affordability and accessibility, security and nutrition, and sustainability and resilience. It also discusses an initial typology of cities based on demographic and food system criteria with which to begin to consider priority interventions.

Strong rural–urban linkages are essential for poverty reduction
FAO Agricultural Development Economics Policy Brief, October 2017

By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Should we thus be more concerned with urban development? On the contrary, we should still focus on rural development, as this will remain critical to ensuring food security and eliminating poverty. With the ongoing demographic change, however, successful rural development will need to heavily rely on strong linkages between rural and urban economies.

Rural areas have potential to feed and employ ‘younger, more crowded planet’ – UN report
United Nations, 09/10/2017

Long seen as poverty traps, rural areas are in fact key to economic growth in developing countries when pegged to food production, according to a new United Nations agriculture agency report released Monday. With ‘sweeping transformations’ that can unlock the potential of rural areas to help feed and employ a younger, more crowded planet, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report State of Food and Agriculture 2017 argues that millions of youth in developing countries who are poised to enter the labour force in the coming decades need not flee rural areas to escape poverty. “The overarching conclusion of this report is that fulfilling the 2030 Agenda depends crucially on progress in rural areas, which is where most of the poor and hungry live,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, in his foreword to the report.  The report says that between 2015 and 2030, people aged 15-24 are expected to rise to 1.3 billion, with the lion’s share being in rural zones. However, it continues, lagging growth in the industrial and service sectors in many developing countries will not be able to absorb the massive numbers of new job seekers – nor will agriculture in its current form. Rural people who relocate to cities will likely run a greater risk of becoming part of the urban poor, instead of finding a pathway out of poverty. Others will need to look for employment elsewhere, leading to seasonal, or permanent migration.

Rural-Urban Linkages in the context of Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection
Global Land Outlook Working Paper, September 2017

This working paper examines the role of rural-urban linkages in the context of sustainable development and environmental protection, analyzing how harnessing linkages between urban and rural areas can potentially reduce spatial disparities. Emphasis is placed on examining the flows of people, goods, money and information between rural and urban areas, as well as upon the linkages that form between different economic sectors. The importance of places – namely the peri-urban interface, and small- and medium-sized towns that tend to muddy the clear-cut distinction between ‘urban’ and ‘rural’ – is also considered. As well as examining rural-urban flows, linkages between sectors, and intermediary places – ‘in-between’ the rural and urban -, this working paper also aims to emphasize why the relation between rural and urban is transforming, and how these transformations affect the quality of land and land use change. Recommendations are put forward based on an integrated and flexible territorial planning approach, which takes the wider planning issue into consideration, rather than confining planning decisions to discrete administrative units and, in particular, limiting them to the rural/urban division. It is herein argued that this flexible perspective offers a more sustainable and equitable approach to regional development, with a view to minimizing environmental degradation and promoting integrated and balanced regional development.

Better Urban Growth in Tanzania: A Preliminary Exploration of the Opportunities and Challenges
August 2017, Coalition for Urban Transitions

This report provides an overview of the institutional, policy and financing landscape shaping Tanzania’s urban areas, and summarises some of the social, economic and environmental costs associated with current trends. While recognising the historical and ongoing constraints on the Tanzania’s urban development path, this report al so highlights opportunities for the Government of Tanzania to drive a transition to more inclusive productive, inclusive and sustainable towns and cities.

Promoting integrated and inclusive rural-urban dynamics and food systems, 1st June 2017

This policy brief (PDF) by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) provides recommendations for creating synergies between different settlement types, leveraging rural-urban linkages, providing avenues for vulnerable groups to advocate for their interests, and supporting small-scale actors in food systems. One of the key messages is that greater attention to the specificities, complexities and implications of current urbanization processes is needed, in particular the role of growing towns and small-scale food systems actors therein. Coherence and integration of policy processes that cut across rural and urban areas is imperative. Additionally, the socio-economic benefits of working with small-scale food systems actors are often unrecognized and unrealized, but offer significant potential for promoting food security and nutrition in the context of emerging transitions. Integrated approaches – focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable people in rural and urban areas – will be essential to foster balanced and inclusive rural-urban transformations. Balanced, territorial and people-centred approaches that support the roles of local small-scale actors and the inclusion of vulnerable groups offer a viable model of working in the evolving contexts. Policy and investment frameworks must respond to the emerging complexities and the specific scenarios facing people in all settlement types along the rural-urban continuum.

Agricultural value chains: How cities reshape food systems
IFPRI, 2017

Rapid growth of cities is driving change in agricultural value chains—key factors include increased commercial flows of agricultural goods, diet transformation, and the large role of commercial markets in meeting urban food needs. Megacities in developing countries are transforming value chains for high-value crops and for traditional staple food crops. The “quiet revolution” affecting staple-food value chains is increasing productivity through: Increased investment in technology and modern inputs, including fertilizers and improved seeds, by farmers close to cities. Use of mobile phones by farmers to better position themselves in markets. Greater vertical integration resulting from the growing scale of midstream and retail sections of the value chain—such as cold storage, rice mills, and supermarkets.

Food remittances: rural-urban linkages and food security in Africa
Jonathan Crush, Mary Caesar, IIED, March 2017

The transfer of funds by migrants to their home countries (cash remittances) is at an all-time high. By 2017, it is predicted to rise to US$500 billion – and there is a growing policy consensus that cash remittances can be mainstreamed into development. Equally, food remitting also has a role to play in urban and rural food security. Yet despite its importance, researchers and policymakers tend to ignore food remitting. This report is aimed at researchers and policymakers interested in transforming rural-urban linkages and the implications for food security of rural and urban residents. At a time of rapid urbanisation in the South, a wider lens is needed: focusing on rural-urban linkages and moving beyond cash-based, market transactions to consider the bidirectional flows of goods – including food – and their impact on food security. Using case studies from Zimbabwe and Namibia, this report demonstrates how lessons related to food remitting can be applied in other African contexts – and highlights the urgent need for a new research agenda.

Urban-rural links to ensure food security, benefit rural producers, 28 March 2017

Linking cities with rural areas will bring about improvements in food security and nutrition. It will also benefit smallholder farmers by ensuring their increased presence in urban markets. As developing countries witness rapid urbanisation (by 2050, 66 per cent of the population is projected to live in urban areas) and population growth, achieving global food security depends on robust rural-urban linkages, a new report by the International Food Policy Research Institute and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says. “Urbanisation is reshaping the landscape within which we must pursue the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture,” the report adds.

IFPRI 2017 Global Food Policy Report 
IFPRI, 23 March 2017

The world is rapidly urbanizing. How does this affect hunger and malnutrition? IFPRI’s 2017 Global Food Policy Report takes an in-depth look at the challenges and opportunities of urbanization for food security and nutrition. Critical questions addressed in this Report include: What do we know about the impacts of urbanization on hunger and nutrition? What are our greatest research and data needs for better policy making that will ensure food security and improve diets for growing urban populations? How can we better connect rural smallholders to urban food consumers to ensure that smallholders and urban residents benefit from expanding urban food markets? What role do informal markets play in feeding cities, and how can they be better governed to increase urban food security?