What urbanisation means for rural areas in Africa

The rural population in sub- sahara Africa is on the move. And unlike before where we saw people willingly moving from the villages to towns, the present rural -urban migrations are what we could call ‘forced’.
Farmers are seeing a decline in crop production from climate change and increasing competition from BIG AGRI. It almost makes no sense to stay, and the city provides a hub for all possibilities.
However, our cities are filled to the brim and more of us are fighting for the unlimited resources to survive. This struggle leads to increase in crime, increased standard of living and the rise of the ‘blame culture’. More and more people are living in squander below the poverty line, and yet reports claim the future of Africa lies in agriculture.
Young people in particular believe that better opportunities await them in cities – “a better life” so to speak. Few of them consider that cities cannot cope with the increasing levels of rural to urban migration. Cities do not have the adequate infrastructure, energy, electricity, water or healthcare, to satisfy demand for jobs, housing and other basic needs. Not to mention the already skyrocketing unemployment figures that can be seen in many urban areas. As most rural to urban migrants are uneducated and unskilled workers they tend to find work in the informal sector that accounts for 93% of all new jobs and 61% of urban employment in Africa. So how can we encourage those young people to stay in rural areas? How do we create viable opportunities?

One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?

By Katrin Glatzel

Alvise Forcellini 2006 urbanisation blog Credit: Alvise Forcellini, 2006

“How to feed our cities? Agriculture and rural areas in an era of urbanisation” – that was the theme of the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture, or for short, the GFFA, hosted in Berlin in mid-January. With Habitat III taking place in October in Quito, Ecuador, urbanisation features on top of the agenda of many meetings and conferences in 2016 including the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ annual flagship report and the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). These forums are important as they draw attention to what urbanisation will mean for rural areas, the agriculture sector and those millions of smallholder farmers, upon which urban areas rely for their food supply. This is particularly important in a developing country context.

Urban and rural transformation

According to UN figures, in 1950 only about a third of the world’s population…

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