Sie sind hier: Startseite

"Future Rural Africa: Future-making and social-ecological transformation" Collaborative Research Center 228

Special visit at open house day

The CRC was recently (24 June) present at the open house of the Villa Hammerschmidt, the second official residence of the German president. The open house, held only every other year, allows the public onto the premises of the residence and was this year the venue for different institutes and projects of the University of Bonn, in the year of its bicentenary existence, to present themselves to the general public.
The president of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife Elke Büdenbender informed themselves about our collaborative research center “Future Rural Africa” and joined a Sykpe-meeting which was part of a regular geography seminar. The presence of the president of the federal republic of Germany rendered a special touch to the digital meeting. The conversation evolved around topics like the differences and similarities in the daily lives of students in both countries as well as their personal visions for their future. The president and his wife were especially impressed by this collaborative adventure of learning and doing research together that is represented in the joint seminar as well as the CRC.

Gruppenfoto CRC Katima

SFB/TRR 228: Starting signal for the „Future Rural Africa“ in Namibia

In the middle of the Zambezi region in northeastern Namibia the Collaborative Research Center 228 (CRC 228) „Future Rural Africa“ launched its cooperation with UNAM and other local partners with a workshop in Katima Mulilo. With about 80 participants the event took place on the 14th and 15th of at the local campus of the University of Namibia. It was conducted under the patronage of the pro-vice chancellor for research, innovation and development of the University of Namibia, Prof. Dr. Kenneth Matengu, and the governor of the Zambezi region. In addition to the scientific cooperation partners, a large number of experts from development and nature conservation organizations attended the workshop. The joint project, which is termed for 12 years, has a regional focus on the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA), a conservation area in Namibia comparable with the size of France. The research project aims to include a variety of national institutions like the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Namibia (MET), nature conservation organizations like the WWF or the Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC), and development organizations like GIZ or KfW.

After a keynote of CRC spokesperson Prof. Müller-Mahn the different CRC projects were presented and discussed extensively with the local experts. On that basis, the future work with the Namibian partners was coordinated and translated into concrete research plans. The variety of participants, bringing in different experiences and expectations, will surely result in an interesting project in the years to come. Especially the African partners are keen to work with the research perspective of "Future-making and social-ecological transformation". The CRC workshop was directly followed by a conference, held in the Namibian capital Windhoek, of the International Geographical Union (IGU).



For the scientific members of the CRC and particularly the 14 PhD students and post-doctoral students who want to work in Namibia, the workshop also made it possible to create initial contacts with local partners. These contacts not only resulted in joint project activities mentioned above but will also make it possible for all PhDs to be well prepared for the anticipated field work. The CRC "Future Rural Africa" that addresses the intricate relationship between future-making and social-ecological transformation, works in Namibia as well in Kenya and Tanzania. More information about the CRC 228 can be found on the website


"Future Rural Africa: Future-making and social-ecological transformation" Collaborative Research Center 228

Africa´s future is the object of expectations, dreams, fears and contestations. It emerges from the present, but it is not completely contingent. This is the starting point of the collaborative research center (CRC): Future-making, the CRC´s key concept, means that ideas of the future are envisioned and translated into plans, policies, and spatial transformations. They materialize along newly emerging development corridors, shifting bio-cultural frontiers and large-scale land-use changes.

The CRC addresses the intricate relationship between future-making and social-ecological transformation. It combines expertise from different academic disciplines, ranging from geography, anthropology, and agronomy to political science, vegetation ecology and virology. It is based at the University of Bonn, in cooperation with the University of Cologne. Other members of this joint project are the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC), the University of Münster, the Charité hospital at Humboldt University in Berlin, and many cooperation partners in Africa. 

With their focus on “future-making”, the members of this large-scale project adopt a perspective that is different from previous approaches to social-ecological research: priority will be given to African actors and their ideas, wishes and expectations in respect of the shaping of future-oriented developments. The general concept of the project is inspired by recent debates in future theory. It distinguishes between concepts of the future based on probabilities, forecasts and models, and concepts which consider future in the form of visions, imaginations and aspirations. While the former approach is common in the natural sciences, the latter is preferred by researchers in the social sciences. For any enquiry into “future-making” in the field of tension between probabilities and possibilities, both approaches are important.

CRC 228 focuses on the Kenyan Rift Valley, the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), and the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area in southern Africa. The researchers examine how the apparently contrary processes of agricultural intensification, on the one hand, and extension of nature reserves, on the other hand, affect land use, people, and future prospects.



Contact the CRC Executive Office: Scientific Coordination

Dr. Claudia Gebauer

University of Bonn, Department of Geography

Meckenheimer Allee 166, 53115 Bonn

Phone: +49 (0) 228 73 60684


Find us online:



Prof. Dr. Müller-Mahn, University of Bonn, Department of Geography, Meckenheimer Allee 166, D-53115 Bonn