Urbanisation and Rural-Urban Migration in Sub-Saharan Africa
26-27 November 2012 Nairobi

Presenters’ biographies


Ms Adamnesh Atnafu


Adamnesh AtnafuAdamnesh Atnafu studied Law as an undergraduate at Addis Ababa University where she also undertook a Master’s degree in Regional and Local Development Studies (RLDS), submitting a thesis on ‘Aspects of Ethiopian Return Migration’. She is currently a PhD candidate in the School of Social Work at Addis Ababa University, researching international migration. She conducts research on social issues including women, children and issues of migration. She has also evaluated research projects, prepared training manuals, conducted training, gender audits, policy analysis, situation analysis/baseline surveys, and assessment reports.


Professor Mariama Awumbila


Mariama AwumbilaMariama Awumbila is currently Head, Centre for Migration Studies and also Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography and Resource Development at the University of Ghana. Her research interests include: population, gender, environment and development inter-relationships, migration and development, and participatory research methodologies. She has undertaken extensive research and published in the areas of migration, livelihoods and development, land and natural resource tenure and management, gender and development and poverty reduction strategies. She has also provided extension services for several national and international agencies and community based organisations in Ghana. She is a member of the International Geographical Union (IGU) steering committee on Gender and Geography, the Union of African Population Scientists, and the Ghana Geographical Association. She currently serves on several national Boards including the Ghana Statistical Service Board, the Ghana National Council for Tertiary Education, and the University Council of the University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana, among others.


Jali BekeleMr Jali Bekele


Jali Bekele is a lecturer at Wolaita Sodo University, Ethiopia. He has an MSc in Economics with emphasis on policy analysis. He is interested in social problems related to poverty, inequality and political economy. His MSc thesis examines the poverty implications of trade liberalization measures in sub-Saharan African countries.



Professor Richard Black


Richard BlackRichard Black is the Head of the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex. He is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Migrating out of Poverty Research Programme Consortium. His research interests focus on the study of international migration, including forced migration and post-conflict return, and related social, economic and environmental transformations. Working with colleagues at Sussex and elsewhere, he has recently been involved in developing new approaches to the understanding of the consequences of climate change for migration patterns globally. He also actively researches and writes on the development of public policy on migration and poverty, especially in poor countries, and on immigrant integration in the UK, particularly relating to recent East European and African migrations.  His work on migration and poverty is linked to the Migrating out of Poverty consortium, and an EU-funded project on Migration from Africa to Europe (MAFE).


Dr Deborah Bryceson


Deborah BrycesonDeborah Fahy Bryceson is a Reader at the Geographical and Earth Sciences School at the University of Glasgow. She did her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Geography at the University of Dar es Salaam, and  a DPhil at Oxford University. Her work has been grounded in studying the transformation of social and economic life from agrarian to more urban-based livelihood, settlement and mobility patterns, and pioneered the concept of de-agrarianisation. She is currently coordinating a research programme on Urbanization and Poverty in Mining Africa (UPIMA) and has edited a Special Issue of the Journal of Contemporary African Studies (2012) entitled Urbanization and Mining: Population, Settlement and Welfare.


Professor Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe


Samuel CodjoeSamuel Nii Ardey Codjoe is the Director of the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) at the University of Ghana, Legon, where he is also Associate Professor of Population. Within the University of Ghana he teaches at the Centre for Migration Studies, Centre for Social Policy Studies, Department of Geography and Resource Development, and the Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research, and is currently an external examiner at the Department of Population Studies, University of Botswana. He obtained an undergraduate degree in Geography and Resource Development from the University of Ghana, a Master of Philosophy degree in Human Geography from the University of Oslo, Norway, and gained his doctorate in Geography and Soil Science from the University of Bonn, Germany.

Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe has published extensively in the areas of his research interests, including the population-environment nexus, migration, fertility, and climate change/variability and its impact on urban and rural livelihoods, and has won several awards including the Best Researcher for 2010/2011 Academic Year, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ghana and the Emerald Literati Network Highly Commended Paper Award for 2011. He has held visiting appointments and engaged in research collaborations at the Carolina Population Centre, University of North Carolina, USA; Ohio State University, USA; University of Bonn, Germany; University of Southampton, UK; and Penn State University, USA. He is currently Project Leader of the African Adaptation Research Centre of Excellence Initiative, sponsored by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada.

Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe  is the Vice President of the Union for African Population Studies, a member of the Population Association of America, and of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of The Ghana Social Science Journal.


Professor Owen Crankshaw


Owen CrankshawOwen Crankshaw is a Professor in the Sociology Department at University of Cape Town. Prior to this appointment, he was a senior researcher at the Human Sciences Research Council and the Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg. He has also lectured at the University of Natal, the University of the Witwatersrand and the London School of Economics. He published Race, Class and the Changing Division of Labour Under Apartheid in 1997. In 2002, he co-authored (with Jo Beall and Susan Parnell) Uniting a Divided City: Governance and social exclusion in Johannesburg. He has also published in peer-reviewed journals. His current research addresses the debate in the urban studies literature concerning the nature of social inequality in post-industrial cities.


Dr Priya Deshingkar


Priya DeshingkarPriya Deshingkar is Research Director at the Migrating out of Poverty Research Programme Consortium (RPC) and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sussex. She has a background in Development Studies and is primarily interested in policy research on internal migration, particularly rural-urban migration, and the role of urbanisation in poverty reduction. Prior to joining the University of Sussex, Priya was a Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute in London where she led research on migration and poverty. As Research Director of Migrating out of Poverty, Priya has played a critical role in shaping the research strategy of the six-year DfID funded Migrating out of Poverty research programme consortium, where rural-urban migration and urbanisation are core themes. She is presently overseeing the implementation of surveys and qualitative research in five global regions - Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Africa, West Africa and Southern Africa. She has recently completed a DfID funded study on adaptive social protection and migration in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi, which examines the links between cash transfers, adaptation and migration.


Dr Sue Jones


Sue JonesSue Jones is an anthropologist and professionally trained urban planner. She is currently a visiting Research Fellow in the Anthropology Department of Goldsmiths, London University, concerned with empowerment and poverty responses. She has been involved in poverty responses and community action since the late 1970s. She has worked in local government, the private sector and as a consultant to governments, donor agencies and NGOs in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific.

Her consultancy work in Africa has included reviews, participatory and community analysis and strategic/ policy considerations in Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Botswana, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe. She has also led  teams on a Livelihoods/ Social Protection analysis and participatory analysis for a Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) review for the World Bank and six bilateral agencies in Benin, Zambia, Kenya and Ethiopia.  She completed a 20-year longitudinal study on income generating projects and empowerment in 2006.

Her more recent publications include Practitioners and Poverty Alleviation: Influencing Urban Policy from the Ground Up (2005) co-edited with Dr Nici Nelson and a chapter in Urban Livelihoods: A People - Centred Approach to Reducing Poverty (2002) edited by Carole Rakodi and Tony Lloyd-Jones.


Owiti A K’AkumuDr Owiti A. K’Akumu


Owiti A. K'Akumu is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of the Built Environment, University of Nairobi where he undertakes housing and building research. He also lectures in the Master of Urban Management (MUM) Programme in the Department of Architecture and Building Science. He has a PhD in property and construction from the University of Westminster and is well published in the area of housing and urban development.


Dr Caroline Kihato


Caroline KihatoCaroline Wanjiku Kihato is the regional coordinator for Urban LandMark based in Pretoria, South Africa. In 2011, she received a MacArthur award on Migration and Development and spent a year as a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University, in Washington DC. Her career has involved both teaching and conducting research in the academy and the non-profit sector in South Africa. She was previously a Policy Analyst at the Development Bank of Southern Africa and a Senior Lecturer in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand. Her research and teaching interests are urbanisation in the global South, urban land markets, gender, migration and governance. She is the co-editor of Urban Diversity: Space, Culture and Inclusive Pluralism in Cities Worldwide published by Johns Hopkins. Her forthcoming book, Migrant women of Johannesburg: Everyday life in an in between city will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012. 


Ms Theodora Lam


Theodora LamTheodora Lam is a Research Associate in the Asian MetaCentre for Population and Sustainable Development Analysis and a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography, at the National University of Singapore. She is currently involved in several research projects including CHAMPSEA, a study investigating the impact of parental absence due to migration on the health and well-being of left-behind children. Her research interests cover transnational migration, children's geographies and gender studies. She has co-edited two special journal issues, Asian Transnational Families in Transition: The Liminality of Simultaneity in International Migration (2008, with Shirlena Huang and Brenda Yeoh) and Asian Transnational Families in Global Networks (2005, with Brenda Yeoh and Shirlena Huang), and is also the co-author of several articles and book chapters.


Professor Loren Landau


Loren LandauLoren B. Landau is Director of the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He holds an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics (LSE) and a PhD in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley. Widely published in the academic and popular press, he is author of The Humanitarian Hangover: Displacement, Aid, and Transformation in Western Tanzania, co-editor of Contemporary Migration to South Africa and editor of Exorcising the Demons Within: Xenophobia, Violence and Statecraft in Contemporary South Africa. His work explores the relationships among human mobility, citizenship, development, and political authority. Along with his academic responsibilities, he has served as the chair of the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA), is a member of the South African Immigration Advisory Board and of the editorial boards of International Migration Review and the Journal of Refugee Studies. He has been a consultant to the South African Human Rights Commission, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the French Development Agency (AFD), Oxfam, and others.


Dr Carlos M. Lopes


Carlos M LopesCarlos M. Lopes has an undergraduate degree in Economics from the Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão (ISEG) and a PhD in Interdisciplinary African Studies from ISCTE (the University Institute of Lisbon). He has taught the Master of African Studies course at ISCTE and the Masters in Community Psychology course at the Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada (ISPA) 2001. Most of his research focuses on the urban economy and the informal economy, including informal markets, the urban passenger transport, foreign exchange trading, and processes of organization and representation of actors. He has also focused on the articulation of themes such as migration, decentralization, poverty and social protection with informal activities.


Dr Gora Mboup


Gora MboupGora Mboup has a PhD in Demography from the University of Montreal and is the Chief of the Global Urban Observatory of UN-HABITAT. He has more than 20 years of experience in the field of Population, Human Settlements and Health and led the team that developed the method of estimation of slums published in 2003 and reported to the United Nations Secretary General. He has recently developed a City Prosperity Index (CPI), which is the basis of the State of the World’s Cities Report 2012. He is co-author of four series of the State of the World’s Cities reports (SWCR): 30 years of the Habitat Agenda (2006); Harmonious cities (2008); Bridging the Urban Divide (2010); and Prosperity of Cities (2012). 


Ms Susanne Melde


Susanne MeldeSusanne Melde has been Research Officer with the ACP Observatory on Migration since 2010. She previously worked on migration and development issues at the headquarters of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for three years. She authored background documents for the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in 2008, co-authored a publication on IOM’s Migration for Development programmes in 2009 and a paper on Migration and Development in the Least Developed Countries in 2010. She was also a Research Officer on the 2010 World Migration Report. Her Master’s degree was obtained in Human Rights with a specialisation in migration and development from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom. She is also currently undertaking a PhD on South-South migration and human rights at the University of Sussex.


Professor John Oucho


John OuchoJohn O. Oucho holds a PhD in Population Geography and is the founder and Executive Director of The African Migration and Development Policy Centre (AMADPOC) in Nairobi. He has been a Professor at the Universities of Nairobi, Ghana, Botswana and Warwick and has undertaken consultancies for various agencies including: UNFPA, UNICEF, UNESCO, ILO, UNHABITAT, the World Bank, and Africa-based and international NGOs working on migration or population and development. In 2007 he became the first African Marie Curie Chair holder on African immigration to Europe in the context of Euro-African relations at the Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations, University of Warwick. His publications include: Urban migrants and rural development in Kenya (1996); Population and Development in Kenya (2000 co-edited); Undercurrents of Ethnic Conflict in Kenya (2002); Migration in South and Southern Africa (2006 co-edited); and Migration in the Service of African Development (2011)


Dr. Samuel Owuor


Samuel OwuorSamuel Owuor is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Nairobi, Kenya, where he has taught urban/human geography, research methods and statistics since 1995. His research interests encompass broad and specific issues in urban development, governance and management,  urban poverty, livelihoods and food security, migration and urban-rural links,  and vulnerability, impact and adaptation to climate change in cities. He is also an affiliate researcher at the African Studies Centre in Leiden, Netherlands, the French Institute of Research in Africa, and at the Centre for Urban Research in Nairobi. He is also a member of the editorial boards of the Regional Development Studies and Hekima journals, as well as being a lead expert in environmental impact assessment and audit.


Professor George Owusu


George OwusuGeorge Owusu holds a PhD in Geography with a special focus on urban and regional development, and an MPhil in Social Change from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Ghana. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), and Head of the Department of Geography and Resource Development at the University of Ghana. His main areas of research include small and medium-sized towns, urbanisation, regional development, local governance and decentralisation, and participatory approaches to development. He has undertaken extensive studies on urbanisation and decentralisation in Ghana, and has published on these issues in national and international journals. He was a member of the Consultant/Expert team which drafted the first National Urban Policy and Action Plan for Ghana in 2010, and he has been a consultant to a number of international organisations including the World Bank, UN-HABITAT, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


Dr Deborah Potts


Full paper

Deborah PottsDeborah Potts is a Reader in Human Geography and a member of the Cities Research Group, and Environment Politics and Development Research Group, of King's College London's Geography Department. She has worked on African cities for over thirty years. Her research has included work on urban livelihoods, low-income housing, migrants and migration, urban economies, rural-urban linkages and urban population trends. Recent publications include:   Circular Migration in Zimbabwe and Contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa, Oxford, James Currey (2010); Cape Town, University of Cape Town Press (2011) and  'What do we know about urbanisation in sub-Saharan Africa and does it matter?'  International Development Planning Review,  34 (1): v-xxi (2012).


Dr Dorte Thorsen


Dorte ThorsenDorte Thorsen has a PhD in African Studies from the University of Sussex. She conducts ethnographic research with child and youth labour migrants from rural Burkina Faso and explores how social and spatial mobilities shape their trajectories as well as their ideas about working life and the identity of the ‘successful migrant’ over the years. She is currently also involved in a research programme looking at the rerouting of migration in West Africa, in which she examines notions of hope, regret and suffering among sub-Saharan migrants in the Maghreb and links these notions with transnational family relations and strategies.

She has published on child migrants, adolescent boys, gender, and child domestic workers. Her recent publications include: Child Migrants in Africa (2011), with I Hashim; five briefing papers on children’s work in West and Central Africa focusing on child domestic workers, children working in commercial agriculture, children working in the urban informal economy, children working in mines and quarries, and children begging for Qur’ānic school masters (available at the West and Central Africa Unicef site); and a forthcoming publication  “Work Opportunities and Frictions for Rural Child Migrants in West African Cities” in Bourdillon, M.C.F. and Mulumbwa, G.M. (eds) The Place of Work in African Children's Lives, Dakar: CODESRIA.


Ms Rasna Warah


Rasna WarahRasna Warah has more than 20 years’ experience as a writer and editor, particularly in the areas of urbanisation and housing.  She was editor and co-author of the State of the World’s Cities report series (2006/7 and 2008/9 editions) produced by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT). From 1996 to 2002 she was the editor of Habitat Debate, UN-HABITAT’s quarterly magazine. She has published in national and international magazines, newspapers, and journals, including the Mail and Guardian, the East African, Cityscapes, Sustainable Development International, State of the World, UN Chronicle, and Kwani. She is also a weekly columnist with the Daily Nation, Kenya’s largest newspaper.


Mr James Waters


James WatersJames Waters is an interdisciplinary researcher currently working on the resilience of slums in Kampala, Uganda. An ecologist by training, James’ initial research interests were in wildlife conservation and development. After building research experience in various projects in Kenya, he gained a Masters in Environmental Science from Imperial College London. His PhD research investigates the role of ecosystem services and adaptive capacity in rapidly urbanising areas focusing on Kampala, Uganda. He is a member of the Resilience Alliance Young Scholars (RAYS) and a founding member of the Urban Resilience Young Researchers Network (URBNET). He also conducts consultancy work linking private organisations in slum adaptation projects as an advisor to Lewis Sustainable.