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Postgraduate School of Agriculture & Rural Development

The Changing Global Landscape in Rural Development: Critical Choices for Results-Oriented Research in Southern Africa

International Conference, 24 - 26 November 2010
Pretoria, South Africa

About the Confence

Recent developments in the national, regional and global arena call for universities and other research training institutions to re-examine their approaches to research in rural development-oriented disciplines. For example, achieving food security has become a major priority in all countries, especially in Africa. The hosting of the conference is based on the recognition of this need for new approaches to tackling local and global issues that impact on rural development. The intention is to facilitate dialogue on cutting-edge issues in rural development, particularly the quality and relevance of research, as well as the role of research institutions in addressing these cutting-edge issues.

Hence, the conference aims to:
  • Unpack the global rural development research agenda and discourse (using case studies);
  • Highlight contemporary rural development challenges and opportunities; and
  • Propose strategies for advancing rural development research, particularly in the southern Africa region.
Some of the questions to be addressed by the conference are as follows:
  • What is the state of research on rural development in southern Africa (identifying the research gaps)?
  • How relevant is current research on rural development to the needs of rural people in Africa?
  • What lessons can we draw from the experiences of organizations and individuals whose research efforts have made a difference in the lives of rural people?
  • How can universities and other research institutions reposition themselves to ensure that their research becomes more relevant to the problems experienced in the developing world? Phrased differently, how do we ensure that rural development research makes a difference in rural people’s lives?
The outcome of the conference is supposed to assist universities and other research institutions to focus their research efforts on issues likely to have a significant impact on rural development. Participants in the conference are drawn from academic, private, public, and civic organizations within the Africa and beyond. They include heads and administrators of research institutions, policymakers, senior researchers, senior corporate managers, postgraduate students, activists and practitioners.

Conference Programme