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Africa: Agriculture, Structural Change and the Urban Imperative

Panelists will examine how African nations can manage structural and spatial change to broaden economic growth.

Date & Time

May. 22, 2013
9:00am – 11:00am


5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
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Africa: Agriculture, Structural Change and the Urban Imperative


One of the foundations of development economics is the well-established proposition that the shift of capital, human and natural resources from low to high productivity uses is the key driver of economic growth.  Virtually all developing economies that have transformed themselves from low- to middle- and upper-income status have undergone profound changes in both their sectoral and spatial configurations. 

Structural change is crucial for Africa’s future. The continent needs more high value-added activities ranging from agro-processing and manufacturing to tradable services in order to create jobs and sustain growth.  Urbanization is an essential component of that process by providing market demand and remittances for the rural economy; fostering entrepreneurship, economic modernization and diversification; offering a deeper labor market, higher income earning opportunity, and better access to services; and, creating the practical necessity for effective local governance and administration.

A panel of experts will examine the inter-related actions and processes that constitute structural change, the role that agriculture must play, the factors that make change an imperative, and the role that off-farm economic activity and policy - and spatial and urban processes and policies - will necessarily have to play to achieve the desired transformation.

Hosted By

Urban Sustainability Laboratory

Since 1991, the Urban Sustainability Laboratory has advanced solutions to urban challenges—such as poverty, exclusion, insecurity, and environmental degradation—by promoting evidence-based research to support sustainable, equitable and peaceful cities.  Read more

Africa Program

The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.–Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, including our blog Africa Up Close, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations.    Read more


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