UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | The University of Lagos Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development CHSD, African Research Universities Alliance ARUA, UK Research, and Innovation UKRI, and Global Challenge Research Fund GCRF, have received a 1.9 million pounds research grant to address migration, urbanisation, and conflict in Africa.
The MUCA project is expected to be completed in three years. This is in collaboration with the ARUA centres in Addis Ababa and Makerere Universities and the University of Sheffield. Furthermore, it supports building research capacities of young African Universities like the University of Jos, University of Nigeria, Hawassa University of Ethiopia, and the Gulu University of Uganda.
Speaking at a National Inception workshop for the project, that drew participants academia, private sector, public sector, and international development agencies; the UNILAG’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said the ARUA Centre of Excellence for Urbanisation and Habitat Cities has the mandate to scale up applied urban research and practice in Africa towards achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Ogundipe, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics and Research, Prof. Oluwole Familoni, described the research project as part of intellectual efforts aimed at unravelling the complexities surrounding migration and urbanisation in Africa, its attendant conflicts, and developing a full-proof plan for peaceful urban futures.
“The future of African cities cannot be determined outside science-policy engagement. They cannot develop effective development strategies without the contributions of knowledge institutions,” he added.
In an overview, Prof. Timothy Nubi, the director of Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development, said that ARUA centre coordinates multidisciplinary research activities and capacity building across various urbanisation and built environment thematic areas.
Nubi further established that they are working towards a template that is workable in Nigerian communities, and added that in partnership with the thirteen ARUA member universities, CHSD provides opportunities for in-depth engagement and solution finding to Africa’s critical urban issues.
According to him, CHSD engages in active collaborations in areas of research and practice with federal and state government agencies, non-governmental organisations, real estate developers’ associations, and slum communities through research clusters.
Speaking at the inception workshop, Prof. Taibat Lawanson, Co-Investigator and Country Lead of MUCA Research Project (Nigeria), said the project would focus on Lagos, Lokoja, Jos, and some other selected cities in Ethiopia and Uganda.
“We shall also look at the ones driven by industrialisation, as with Hawassa in Ethiopia, and Lokoja, Obajana, in Nigeria, and that driven by perennial conflict as it is with Jos, also in Nigeria,” she said.
Additionally, she explained that the research will investigate the principal causes and drivers of urban conflict within African cities of differing sizes, demographic and socio-economic profiles, and experiences of migration.
Taibat further stated that the project will explore how conflicts that control key sectors of the informal economy manifest in these cities and how they are affected by rural-urban migration.
“The project will also explore how factors such as land rights, informal economies and governance, resource availability, and access influence resilience and vulnerability to conflict,” she added.
In his remarks, Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Idris Salako commended the efforts of the University of Lagos and other collaborators in mobilising expertise to ensure a comprehensive approach to addressing challenges associated with rural/urban migration.
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