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Reducing poverty through rural transformation: Crawford experts lead new global project

21 January 2021

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Chunlai Chen is a Professor in the Policy and Governance Program. Chunlai’s research interest and expertise include foreign direct investment, international trade and the WTO, agricultural economics and the Chinese economy.

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Rural transformation has been shown to reduce poverty, increase income, and improve food security of rural populations, but the challenge is to find the secrets of success.

Starting this week, ANU Crawford School of Public Policy researchers will spearhead an international project to examine the role of rural transformation in reducing poverty rates and improving the standard of living for millions of people in developing Asian nations.

The team seek to find out what makes rural transformations – a process during which rural societies diversify their economies and reduce their reliance on agriculture, and which sees villages grow into small cities – successful.

“We’re going to look at rural transformation outcomes to date in a number of Asian economies, analyse and explain what success means in those countries, and then identify its determinants,” Crawford School’s Professor Chunlai Chen who will be leading the project said.

“The project will conduct a cross-country comparison to share insights into successful rural transformation and deliver policy recommendations to different levels of government.”

Professor Chen also said that the aim of the initiative was to encourage participating nations to learn from each other, and give tangible advice to policymakers.

“It’s important to understand the changing nature of rural economies in developing nations to provide advice to policymakers on how they can ensure that rural transformations are successful,” he said.

Funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the project involves over 40 researchers, policymakers, and industry experts from Australia and four participating countries in the region.

“I look forward to the cooperation across such a wide range of countries with their different experiences, the drivers of which we aim to capture in this work,” Professor Chen said.

ACIAR program manager Howard Hall said that this work on rural transformation will have a positive impact in the region.

“ACIAR, and many others in the research for development sector, recognise that there is still a lot to do in this area. ACIAR sees this project as being very important and of high priority.”

With the leadership of Crawford School, the participating institutions include the University of Western Australia, Peking University of China, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Bangladesh Academy of Rural Development, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Indonesian Centre for Agriculture Socio Economic and Policy Studies of the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture, and the Bogor Agricultural University of Indonesia.

The project also includes partnerships with global and regional stakeholders such as industry partners, central and local governments, non-governmental organisations, and international organisations.

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Updated:  6 May 2021/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team