WASS seminar ‘Africa 2016-2100; population growth, urbanization; migration’

Organised by Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS)

Wed 16 November 2016 13:30 to 17:00

Venue Leeuwenborch, gebouwnummer 201
Room C75

Population prospects for Africa show a slow demographic transition, which will result in major further population growth (up to 3.4 or even more than 4 billion Africans at the end of this Century?). The young African population will continue to migrate to cities, and particularly to metropolitan zones in the coastal areas all over Africa. Africa's multi-million cities (already 50 now) will grow in number and in population, and Africa will repeat the urban/mega-city  expansions of Asia and Latin America earlier. Africa's youthful mobile population will become even more fluid, and part of the geographical fluidity will mean: global migration. Europe will be one of the destinations. Current migration theory shows that (long-distance) migration is a result of capability and opportunity. A growing economy, higher urbanization, and emancipatory behaviour among Africa's youth will all mean: higher capability to become more mobile. Europe's policy to make migration more difficult only means it will become more costly and more risky, not that long-term migration trends will be restricted. And some of its policies are counter-productive. But at the same time it is good to see things in perspective: the overwhelming part of Africa's mobility will be within Africa, and also be aware: Africa's youth is not only mobile because of economic gain-seeking, but also because of many other reasons. And also be aware that the demand for food, and other rural commodities by many more urban Africans will mean major, and very-far reaching changes in Africa's countryside and it will mean huge opportunities for commercial agriculture, with urban entrepreneurs, and part of Africa's diaspora, revolutionising part of Africa's agro-landscapes. 

Migration is one of the most perplexing phenomena in modern Africa. Millions of people are on the move from rural to urban areas, within countries, within Africa and out of Africa, searching for safer or simply better futures. Migration raises new substantive and urgent questions for research, and it influences the African research context to an extent that substantial knowledge on the phenomenon becomes indispensable.

On November 16, WASS Africa organizes a thematic afternoon program on African migration. It invites all researchers and students from Wageningen UR with an interest in Africa to participate. Main speaker will be Prof Dr Ton Dietz of the Africa Study Centre in Leiden. The audience will be introduced to the topic by Prof Dr Han van Dijk and will receive some challenging statements for discussion by Prof Dr Ewout Frankema and Nico Heerink.

Program, Wednesday November 16, Room C75, Leeuwenborch

13.30 Informal chat about Africa with coffee and tea
13.45 Opening
13.50 Introduction by Han van Dijk
14.15 Africa 2016-2100; population growth, urbanization; migration by Ton Dietz
15.00 The historic roots of migration by Ewout Frankema
15.15 An economic perspective on migration by Nico Heerink
15.30 Discussion
16.00 Drinks

As we would like to know how many people we can expect, we kindly ask you to register by email at

WASS Africa is The Wageningen School of Social Sciences Interest Group on African Development (