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Developing a complexity science capable of solving practical, important, and urgent problems

The process of transforming agriculture in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is, especially for policymakers and decisionmakers, highly complex. It represents a major challenge for governments in the region. Indeed, the systems of agricultural production in Africa are extremely diverse and reflect a diversity of cultural contexts and environmental conditions. So far, we have witnessed a general failure of agricultural development policies—both in developed and developing countries. Farmers continue to abandon rural areas. This failure can be explained by the fact that conventional models based on reductionism cannot handle the matter. For this reason, we propose the use of practical analytical tools based on complexity (complex not complicated!) capable of generating a robust diagnosis and anticipation of the problems we should expect in the development of rural Africa. The recipe we propose is a mixing of different flavors of expertise related to theoretical complexity, metabolic principles in practice, and agriculture in practice. It includes both old and young researchers and generates a new type of science that does not solve “problems” (whose problems?), but rather helps communities and decisionmakers to better understand sets of situations, options, and threats in order to be able to take better informed decisions.


Fellows involved in this project

Young Scholar

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Is any information on this page incorrect or outdated? Please notify Ms. Nel-Mari Loock at [email protected].