In the pursuit of the African Dream



Millions of people are migrating from rural to urban areas worldwide. They are looking for a better life and job opportunities that will lead them to prosperity and success. Sounds familiar? Yes, the so called “American dream”.

Today, with all these big flows of people from rural to urban areas, the cities are often not  well prepared. Job markets can quickly become saturated, and all those human resources end up being left untapped. Urban growth is not driven by a goal to provide better life conditions, and the inequalities between the urban and the rural most of the times result in social instability that also affects food security.

In the side event “Territorial approach to urban rural transformations and food security in Africa”, the panellists shared their visions of the future of Africa, as an integrated, sustainable, and collaborative continent of opportunities for all. Does it sound like the new “African dream”?

According the United Nations, by 2050 two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas. This doesn’t mean that we only need to pay attention to urban development (where most of the people are going to live), but also to rural development, and more importantly, to the linkages between these two.

During the side event, the panellists shared the importance of combining the sectoral approach, which has been focused mainly on agricultural growth, with the new territorial approach, as a strategy to strengthen the urban-rural linkages. The territorial approach takes a wider lens, and will help to manage the complex relationships between the economic, social, environmental and geographic drivers of rural development.

Chapter 5 of the just launched “The State of Food and Agriculture” points out that the “Agri-Territorial approach” requires four conditions to creating farm and nonfarm jobs, ensuring food security and providing alternatives for young people both in rural and urban areas. These are:

First, multi-stakeholder planning by connecting the different segments of the food value chains. Second, integrating targeted value chain interventions into a broader territorial strategy. Third, ensuring a balanced mix of infrastructure development and policy interventions across the rural-urban spectrum. Fourth, ensuring basic services and effective regulatory frameworks are in place to foster food business development.

The new Agri-Territorial approach has the potential to help the “African dream” to come true, by linking the development of cities and towns, with opportunities for the rural poor.

This blogpost covers the CFS44 side event “Territorial approach to urban rural transformations and food security in Africa”

eby Diego Valencia, #CFS44 Social Reporter –

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