Structural Transformation of African Agriculture and Rural Spaces (STAARS)

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From: 04/12/2015
To: 05/12/2015
Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The African Development Bank, in collaboration with Cornell University, the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP), and the World Bank, are organizing a conference on the theme Structural Transformation of African Agriculture and Rural Spaces (STAARS). The conference will be held from December 4-5, 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The conference will bring together top-tier researchers and policy-makers from Africa and around the world to advance the dialogue on how to foster structural transformation of agriculture in Africa. The event will cover all areas of analytical work on drivers of structural transformation in agriculture. These include agricultural productivity and innovation, technology adoption, market performance and productivity. Others topics will be non-farm labour and resource allocation, human capital investment and dynamics, financing and risk management, market access, and related fields around policy.

The conference is one of the many activities under the STAARS project, a multi-year initiative with broad and ambitious goals aimed at informing evidence-based policy-making to improve the performance of Africa’s agriculture for enhanced food security, inclusion and employment, particularly for youth and women.

The STAARS project seeks to respond to concerns about the disconnection between recent positive developments in African countries. They have experienced accelerated economic growth, improved macroeconomic conditions and governance on one hand, and on the other, distressingly high poverty rates and widening inequalities, low agricultural productivity, and widespread market failures. In addition, there has been lack of clear policies linking productivity growth in smallholder agriculture and broader development of rural spaces.

The objectives of this project are: (i) to deepen the role of agriculture research in highlighting different challenges and offering evidence-based solutions in order to better inform policy on promoting structural transformation in the agriculture sector; (ii) to undertake rigorous analysis on publicly available and meticulously collected microeconomic data currently underused particularly by African researchers, such as the LSMS-ISA panel data sets for presentation in various fora and in publications, for both academic and policy audiences; (iii) to help build a network of skilled African policy researchers through improved access to the existing data, capacity building in techniques for uncovering the evidence, and direct mentoring and collaboration of young African researchers; (iv) to promote dialogue between researchers and practitioners on the role of agricultural transformation in development process for African countries; and (v) to strengthen networks of development financial institutions, researchers and think tanks towards a common agenda of promoting structural transformation in agriculture and rural spaces in Africa.

For more information on the STAARS project and the conference: barrett.dyson.cornell.edu/staars/index.html


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