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GSSC  Seminar May 17, 2022


Do Rural African Youth Have a Future in Commercial Farming? A Case of Mount Kenya Region

Cyriaque Hakizimana (PLAAS, University of the Western Cape)


The African population is rapidly growing comparing to other regions in the world. According to some estimates, about half a million people will enter the labour market each year between 2015 and 2035, in a context characterized by a significantly low growth of employment generating sectors such as labour-intensive manufacturing and associated exports and ser-vices. About 70 per cent of Africa’s young people live in rural areas. The limited absorption capacity of urban-based formal economic sectors has led some analysts to suggest that agriculture is the only sector that has the potential to provide the jobs required for the growing number of new labour market entrants in Africa’s countryside. This presentation will focus on the generational land access as the main conditioning determinant for inclusion in and exclusion from commercial farming. Land ownership defines who has what powers over what kind of resources, for what purposes. In African societies, like elsewhere in the world, land owner-ship is not defined outside of specific social relations. It is not seen as something separate and distinct from models of organising production, reproduction, and accumulation processes. All these factors have stimulated debates on the trajectories of agrarian change and the protracted implications for the African futures of rural youth, food systems and rural livelihoods in the contemporary Africa within the ambit of the rapid modernizing world.


Short CV:

Mr Hakizimana is a researcher and PhD candidate in the Institute for Poverty, Land, and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of Western Cape in South Africa. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Global South Studies Centre at the University of Cologne, Germany. His academic training is in poverty reduction approaches, and his research interest is in agricultural development within the broader field of Agrarian transformation. Over the past years Mr Hakizimana has been involved in a multinational project on Land and Agricultural Commercialization in Africa (LACA) which investigates among other things questions related to how agrarian transitions happen and how farming models articulate the relationships between
land, labour and capital in commercial enterprises themselves and in the surrounding locality. He is currently leading the Southern Africa Regional Hub of the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) programme which aims to produce new information and insights into different pathways to agricultural commercialisation in order to assess their impacts and outcomes on rural poverty, women’s and girl’s empowerment and food and nutrition security in Sub-Saharan Africa. Mr Hakizimana is coordinating the Young African Researchers in Agriculture Network (YARA).