Global Change and the Future of African Agriculture: What Role for Higher Education?

Agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa is confronted with multiple dimensions of global change, from the atmospheric to the political and economic, from environmental to the demographic and cultural.Change is continuous, and largely unpredictable. Despite decades of innovative agricultural research and learning, broad, long-lasting impacts on food availability, income and economic development remain elusive. This paper examines some of the mainchallenges and stresses that confront African agriculture today. Implications for Higher Education are drawn from this analysis. The paper argues that responding effectively to complexity depends on changes in higher education,to promote the application of systems thinking and inter-disciplinary research, more effective collaboration, asking the right questions, building trust in institutions, and fostering innovation
L’agricultureen Afrique sub-saharienne est confrontée àde multiples dimensionsdu changement planétaire,des changements atmosphériques aux changements politiques et économiques, des changements environnementaux aux changements démographiques et culturaux. Le changement est continu,et largement imprévisible. Malgré des décennies derecherche agricoleinnovatriceet d’apprentissage, largeset durablesimpacts sur la disponibilitéalimentaire, les revenuset le développement économiquedemeurent insaisissables.Cet article examinedes contraintes et défis principaux qui confrontent l’agriculture africaineactuellement.Les implications pourl’enseignement supérieursont tirées de cetteanalyse.L’article fait valoir quela réponse efficaceà la complexitédépend des changements dansl’enseignement supérieur, afin de promouvoir l’application dela pensée systémique etde la recherche interdisciplinaire, une collaboration plus efficace, en posant les bonnes questions, en développant la confiancedans les institutions, et en favorisant l’innovation. Mots clés: Afrique, défis
Extended Abstract for Coordinated Action for Agricultural Innovation
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
Central Africa
East Africa
Southern Africa
West Africa
RUFORUM Conferences and Workshops
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
Printed resource

The 2012 RUFORUM Biennial Conference is the third in the series. The main objective of the Biennial conferences is to provide a platform for agricultural research for development stakeholders in Africa and beyond to actively exchange findings and experiences, while at the same time learning lessons towards improving performance of the agricultural sector and ultimately people’s livelihoods. The biennial conference is RUFORUM’s most comprehensive meeting for the diversity of stakeholers in agriculture. It is especially dedicated to graduate students and their supervisors, grantees in RUFORUM member universities and alumni. It is a platform for peer review, quality control, mentorship, networking and shared learning. The third Biennial Conference was attended by 657 participants.  This record contains an extended abstract accepted under the theme of Coordinated Action for Agricultural Innovation.