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.

International Workers’ Day: Building urban linkages to strengthen African rural employment
IFPRI; 30/04/2019

Economic growth in Africa has been strong in the past decade, and countries around the world are now scrambling to set up strategic and commercial ties with the continent. But it’s not clear whether this growth is creating the number and types of jobs needed to raise living standards for most Africans, especially in rural areas where poverty is greatest. An alarming 71.7% of Africans are disappointed with their respective governments’ handling of job creation, according to Afrobarometer data. Although the current generation of Africans entering the labor force is more educated than any in the past, many find their employment prospects no different than those of their parents—and in a few countries, they are worse. Creating more and better jobs is especially important forAfrica’s large youth population. In some countries young people have already been vocal about their dissatisfaction. As the world observes International Workers’ Day (May 1), policy makers should focus on strategies for sparking job growth and building better livelihoods across Africa—particularly in rural areas. Our chapter in IFPRI’s 2019 Global Food Policy Report (GFPR) outlines a series of smart investments aimed at bridging the divide between rural and urban areas and revitalizing agriculture to achieve those goals.

Better food systems for better rural-urban linkages
Rural21; 11/12/2018

Rapid global population growth is blurring the boundary between urban and rural. In reality, the traditional distribution of roles in agricultural and food production has given way to new structures. Regional planning ought to consider changed livelihoods in order to provide an adequate framework for development and to integrate food systems. A call for transformative change. In 2007, the world population officially tipped over to be more urban, with the current estimate being 55 per cent living in urban areas. This development is certainly one of the reasons for much of investments in recent decades having had more focus on “urban development”, often leaving the rural population behind. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has focused its work on “rural development” since its foundation in 1945, concentrating on agricultural development which is considered mostly a rural activity, balancing this global trend towards the urban. But the fact of the matter is that agriculture was precisely the reason urbanisation began thousands of years ago, allowing people to settle in one location rather than having to move around to find food. However, when industrial revolution set in, it changed the rural-urban dynamics. Agricultural production became farther away from where people lived, and thus the image of agriculture being rural evolved.

Integrating Food into Urban Planning
University College London; 23/11/2018

The integration of food into urban planning is a crucial and emerging topic. Urban planners, alongside the local and regional authorities that have traditionally been less engaged in food-related issues, are now asked to take a central and active part in understanding how food is produced, processed, packaged, transported, marketed, consumed, disposed of and recycled in our cities. While there is a growing body of literature on the topic, the issue of planning cities in such a way they will increase food security and nutrition, not only for the affluent sections of society but primarily for the poor, is much less discussed, and much less informed by practices. This volume, a collaboration between the Bartlett Development Planning Unit at UCL and the Food Agricultural Organisation, aims to fill this gap by putting more than 20 city-based experiences in perspective, including studies from Toronto, New York City, Portland and Providence in North America; Milan in Europe and Cape Town in Africa; Belo Horizonte and Lima in South America; and, in Asia, Bangkok and Tokyo.

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.

Rural-Urban Linkages and Sustainable Development in Africa
UNU; 18/10/2018

This book highlights the important role of the complex nature of interactions between rural and urban areas in Africa and how this relates to sustainable development on the continent – one with a fast urbanization rate. The volume critiques the widely held assumption of a societal divide where rural areas are mostly agricultural, whilst urban areas engage in industry and services. Contributors provide conceptual arguments and present case studies in Africa which illustrate the complex and multifaceted interdependencies between cities and rural areas, through the flow of natural resources, people, capital, information, goods and services which directly impacts the socio-ecological as well as economic sustainability of these spaces. This volume forms part of an Education for Sustainable Development in Africa (ESDA) book series involving the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability and 8 partner African universities running Master’s Programs in sustainable development. The book series is intended to serve primarily as undergraduate and graduate instruction materials for courses on sustainable development in Africa, as well as policy input to key developmental issues in Africa.

Can secondary cities bridge urban and rural economies in Africa?
brookings; 21/06/2018

Rapid urbanization is now the norm in Africa: African urban populations nearly doubled between 1995 and 2015 and are projected to almost double again by 2035. On the one hand, urbanization does offer prospects for better jobs, industrialization, and agglomeration economies that confer benefits from firms and people locating near one another. On the other hand, without smart planning, infrastructure investment, and successful service delivery, these areas of urban opportunity can quickly become cities of despondency. As we already have seen in Africa, the rise of megacities is putting pressure on local and national governments to develop and promote the livelihoods of their citizens. One strategy to better address or even avoid many of these challenges is for policymakers to promote “secondary cities,” defined loosely as those cities whose “primary role is to connect rural and urban areas through the provision of services and facilities.” Typically, these places have a population between 100,000 and 500,000. Proponents often use the term “intermediary cities” too to emphasize those cities’ roles in connecting rural and urban economies. Indeed, many experts argue that secondary cities balance urbanization and regional development, create markets for rural residents, and generate more inclusive growth. Despite such potential, these cities are not given deserved attention and support due to the mounting urban challenges in Africa’s primary cities.

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.

New paper explores how big cities, small towns affect poor farmers in Africa
CGIAR; 20/06/2018

Rapid urbanization in developing countries stimulates interest in understanding the impact of the nature of urbanization on the economies of these countries. Secondary towns have been shown to lead to more inclusive growth and poverty reduction compared to primate cities. This is because rural migrants are more likely to participate in the non-farm sector of secondary towns. However, less is known about how urbanization patterns affect agricultural production. The new study published in the June issue of World Development investigates this relationship between agriculture and different sized cities. The authors from University of Leuven and IFPRI develop a theoretical model to analyze how farmers’ proximity to cities of different sizes affects agricultural prices and intensification of farming. They use large-scale survey data from producers of teff, a major staple crop in Ethiopia, relying on unique data on transport costs and road networks and implementing an array of econometric models. The study finds that agricultural price behavior and intensification is determined by proximity to a city and the type of city. While proximity to cities has a strong positive effect on agricultural output prices and on uptake of modern inputs and yields on farms, the effects on prices and intensification measures are lower for farmers in the rural hinterlands of secondary towns compared to big cities.

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?