A hundred years ago, the rural population outnumbered the urban seven to one. Now, more than half the world's population are town and city dwellers.
The UN estimates that by 2050, the world's urban population – which is expanding at the rate of 65 million annually – will have grown to 6 billion while the rural population will remain around 3.4 billion. Some 60% of global GDP is generated by 600 cities. Over the next 15 years, it is expected that 136 new cities will enter this group – 100 from China alone.
Natural resources such as water and available fertile land face increasing pressure. There is a rising demand for rural communities to produce enough food and with almost 70% of the world's poor living in rural areas, the need for economic growth is more urgent than ever. Rural economies have considerable potential to drive growth and job creation, largely through agriculture, but they need help.
Sustainable development in both cities and rural economies is critically important.
"The global population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, with only a third living in rural environments."
Professional Commission First Prize Winner for his series “Árnes”.
Professional Commission Second Prize Winner for his series of images from Dakar, Senegal.