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Utrecht University et al | Rurban Africa research Narratives

Rurban Africa research narratives

Rurban Africa is a long-term research programme and a collaboration between Utrecht University (IDS), University of Copenhagen, IIED, University de Toulouse le Mirail, Loughborough University, National University of Rwanda, University of Agriculture Tanzania, University of Dschang Cameroun, and the University of Ghana.

The goal of the Rurban Africa project is to investigate and document the profound and extremely dynamic transformations that affect rural and urban areas, agricultural production systems and livelihoods, migration and mobility and the growth of urban centres. In many cases, these processes are not reflected in existing, reliable data such as censuses and surveys. In many cases, there is also a deep separation between all that is deemed to be ‘urban’ and all that is assumed to be ‘rural’. This is often at the roots of inadequate policy responses that may increase inequality rather than support sustainable development.

In this set of short interviews, several researchers involved in fieldwork were asked to tell what they felt was their most significant ‘finding’ – something that changed the way they understand and appreciate the transformations they have been witnessing and documenting during the course of the project. Their answers show the huge diversity of these dynamics. But while most researchers’ work has focused mainly on one country, and in some cases on one dimension – agricultural production, rural livelihoods, mobility, urban livelihoods – there is a surprisingly strong underlying narrative that ties all countries and locations together, as pointed out by the interviewees who have been working on rural-urban linkages for many decades.

The interviews can be accessed here: Rurban Africa Research narratives.