On the 9th of April, the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) “Future Rural Africa – Future-making and social-ecological transformation” was officially launched with an opening symposium at the University Club Bonn. Numerous guests from scientific institutions, research funding and development cooperation organisations were present. The rectors of the universities of Bonn and Cologne, Michael Hoch and Axel Freimuth, highlighted the strong cooperative relations between the two neighbouring universities carrying this CRC.
The introductory speech by Detlef Müller-Mahn and Julia Verne presented the core ideas of the joint project carrying out research in Kenya, Tanzania, and Namibia, which is designed to last for 12 years. The following keynote speeches discussed different aspects of the topic “Future Rural Africa”. The sociologist Elisio Macamo from Basel confronted the audience with critical questions from a postcolonial point of view. Jakob Rhyner, vice-rector of the United Nations University, addressed the different ‘realities’ in current Sub-Sahara Africa during his speech, while Dirk Messner, director of the German Development Institute in Bonn, ended with an emphasis on the important role of the African continent in finding solutions for global challenges.
The contrasting points of view emphasized that the CRC works within a tension-filled and therefore scientifically very exciting field.