Young African Researchers in Agriculture working to transform rural economies in Africa

The Inaugural Conference of the Young African Researchers in Agriculture Network An international conference forging a strong collaboration among Young African Academics for the Transformation of Rural Economies in Africa took place from 6 – 8 February 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Launched in 2014 at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, the YARA network was inspired by the need to support and promote young scholars on the continent in order to secure the future or research, policy and practice in Africa’s rural transformation.

Hosted by the University of the Western Cape, the three-day conference bought together young and early career African masters and PhD level researchers in agriculture from all over the continent to share their research about options to transform African rural economies and livelihoods.

Among the key issues covered through some vibrant, innovative and thought provoking presentations were questions about why transforming African rural economies matter, as well as why it is important to forge strong collaboration among young African academics to achieve that.

To address these critical questions, the conference was organised around four main themes:

1) Property rights including land governance,

2) Climate change and environment,

3) Food security and

4) Agro-food systems and rural livelihoods.

The goal of the 2017 Inaugural Conference was to uncover recent research in various areas undertaken by YARA members on the African continent. The conference also sought to identify possible gaps that may need further investigation and identify which may present opportunities for research collaboration and partnership between Young African academics.

It is hoped that the conference will provide YARA members the opportunity to reflect and, working together, chart short, medium and long-term plan of actions and implementation mechanisms, to help address the agricultural challenges facing the continent today.