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Title: Exploring Urban Rural Interdependence and the Impact of Climate Change in Tanzania and Malawi
Authors: Liwenga, Emma
Elirehema, Swai
Nsemwa, Lebai
Katunzi, Alphonce
Gwambene, Brown
Date: Jun-2012
Abstract: Urban populations in Tanzania are projected to increase from less than 3 million (<15% of the total population) in 1980 to over 25 million (~40%) in 2030 and in Malawi from just over 500,000 (~10%) to over 7 million (>30%). In the foreseeable future, the intermediate cities (with less than 500,000 inhabitants) will account for two-thirds of all African urban growth (UNHABITAT, 2008). This rapid urbanization of Africa poses many challenges for national and local governments regarding the provision of infrastructure and services which are already notably lacking in many areas. Alongside this rapid urbanization climate change is posing a serious global threat, to which Africa - faced with multiple stresses and low adaptive capacity, is particularly vulnerable. The linkages and interdependencies between rural and urban areas provided by the flows of people, goods, services, information and money is increasingly being recognised as important to both social and ecological concerns. Whilst these urban-rural linkages have been partially explored in Tanzania and Malawi (e.g. Maliro & Mataya, 1996; Bah et al., 2003; Bahilgwa et al., 2005), the impact of a changing climate on them has not been analysed. These interdependencies have deepened since the 1980s and as a consequence trends and stresses at global, national and local levels affecting livelihoods, food security and access to energy in urban areas have intensified the linkages between and heightened the implications for rural areas and vice versa. There is little evidence that such studies are accessible to or influencing decision makers - particularly local governments. Moving away from the earlier localism of some participatory approaches, there has also been increasing appreciation of the importance of linking participatory processes to wider scale development planning and of the need to understand socio-economic dynamics across scales (e.g. as households change shape in the context of increasing migration, as technological developments occur such as mobile phone technology and services, economic globalisation etc). Climate change is increasing the uncertainties around future trajectories for specific places, and exploring what these trajectories might look like on a longer-timescale is thus a critical aspect of adapting to climate change. Our action research project is thus exploring the linkages between rural localities and centralized mid-scale urban centres in Tanzania and Malawi building on our existing CCAA funded ‘Rural’ project. However, our focus is the linked urban and rural areas in relation to agriculture and food systems aiming to explore resilience and strengthen the capacity of actors in these innovation systems to respond to climate change and climate variability.
Project Number: 105836
Project Title: Urban-Rural Interdependence and the Impact of Climate Change in Malawi and Tanzania
Access: IDRC Only
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