The rapidly growing population in Africa and the expectations that urban population will rapidly increase, give even bigger importance to opening new opportunities for agriculture and the economic development of rural areas.

At the expert meeting Rural and Regional Policies for Sustainable and Inclusive Development in Africa – co-organised by the OECD, NEPAD, AFD and CIRAD in Paris on 30. March 2016 – the discussions focused on rural transformation and rural-urban linkages considering sustainable resource management and agricultural production increases, the economic development and job creation as well as access to public services in rural areas. There was a broad agreement that fragmented, sector-specific development approaches are rather inefficient. Innovative approaches to support the successful implementation of the ambitious Agenda2030 have been discussed extensively in the context of territorial approaches and landscape management – see the Platform’s AGA in January 2014 and the Platform’s Strategic Initiative Agenda2030.

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Outcomes

The event was divided in four blocks – “Africa’s dual challenge: urban and rural development”, “Policy tools and country experiences for territorial development”, “Donor practices and contributions” and “Heading towards the NEPAD Rural Forum 2016: How can policy makers, stakeholders and development partners address Africa’s development challenges?”. The thematic discussions showed that there is still great potential in territorial development and rural transformation approaches, if they incorporate issues such as decentralization, governance, job creation and rural-urban linkages. At the same time the discussion shed light on the growing divergence concerning the “territory” definition. Furthermore donors brought up the need to assess the transaction costs of territorial and sectorial approaches in their future development policy decisions. In times of ODA modernization and an overall decrease in development finance for agriculture and rural development, domestic budget in developing countries will play an increasingly important role. Rural transformation needs to be realistically set up – NEPAD/CAADP should support countries through their compacts, national investment plans through the Rural Futures Programme.

Steps forward

The event in Paris served as a preparation for the 2. Africa Rural Development Forum organised by NEPAD Rural Futures Programme that will take place in early June 2016 in Cameron. The topic of the event is set to be “Transforming Africa’s Rural Space through Youth Empowerment, Job Creation and Skills Development” and it is expected for African government officials and other stakeholders to pick up the discussions on rural transformation and intensify the cooperation amongst African countries and the donor community. OECD and FAO suggested cooperating with GIZ in identifying pilot partner countries to implement a new innovative territorial, multi-sectoral and integrated approach.

The Global Donor Platform will implement its work programme of the Strategic Initiative Agedna2030 focusing on Rural Transformation based on the concept and work programme.

The CFS will hold a forum on Urbanization, rural transformation and implications for food security and nutrition in October 2016 during the CFS session and is offering an online consultation on a background paper.

Following the discussions in all events, OECD will be soon publishing “A New Rural Development Paradigm for Developing Countries the 21st Century”. On 29. April, OECD, FAO and UNCDF will launch a joint publication on “Adopting a territorial approach to food security and nutrition policy.”

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