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From our research library: 5 reads on this World Cities Day

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From our research library: 5 reads on this World Cities Day

31 Oct 2017

3min min read
  • Sustainable urban development

Today marks World Cities Day, which aims to highlight the important role that urbanisation plays in global development and social inclusion. The Africa Portal has a wide range of research on the topic  take a look at some recent publications below. 

African Urban Futures 

Institute for Security Studies, 2016

This paper frames the future of Africa’s urban transition and looks at continental and regional long-term futures, the drivers of urbanisation and the relationship between urbanisation and economic development. The continent’s current and emerging megacities are identified and likely population numbers are forecasted for Cairo, Lagos, Kinshasa, Johannesburg, Luanda and Dar es Salaam over the coming decades. Key urban challenges are then discussed for these cities and respective countries, with a focus on exclusion, inequality and urban violence, and points to potential pathways to more sustainable urban futures for Africa. [Download PDF]  

Who really governs urban Ghana?

Africa Research Institute, 2016 

Ghana is one of Africa’s most urbanised – and rapidly urbanising – countries. In the past three decades, the number of city dwellers has risen from four to 14 million; more than 5.5 million live in slums. Urban growth exerts intense pressure on government and municipal authorities to provide infrastructure, affordable housing, public services and jobs. It has exacerbated informality, inequality, underdevelopment and political patronage. Some commentators warn of an impending urban crisis. Policymakers and international donors continue to prescribe better urban planning, slum upgrading, infrastructure investment and “capacity building” to “fix” African cities. While these are necessary, the success of any urban strategy depends on an informed appraisal of the political dynamics of urban neighbourhoods that define governance in Ghana’s cities. [Download PDF]

Cities - Pathways to Prosperity

Centre for Development and Enterprise, 2015

The best opportunities for increased growth and employment in South Africa are to be found in her cities. Cities are South Africa’s future. Growth needs to come through urban-led development, in which both the private and public sector have an important role to play. There is no future in rural poverty. All over the world, people have moved to cities to take up the better set of opportunities these urban environments offer. It is a choice we want to create for the millions of poor South Africans that are stuck in places where there are no jobs and no prospects. That does not mean we ignore the rural areas. South Africa has never had an economic strategy for the rural areas and it’s about time we did. But unless there is an economic reason for why a region or town should grow and create jobs, we should ensure good education and health and then enable people to move closer to where the economic opportunities are. And developing a clear strategy on how government is going to maximise the economic future of people in rural areas is very different from telling people what to do. [Download PDF]

Cities and Agricultural Transformation in Africa: Evidence from Ethiopia 

International Food Policy Research Institute, 2016

Due to the rapid growth of cities in Africa, many more farmers are now living in rural hinterlands in relatively close proximity to cities where many provide food to urban residents. However, empirical evidence on how urbanisation affects these farmers is scarce. To fill this gap, this paper explores the relationship between proximity to a city and the production behavior of rural staple crop producers. In particular, we analyse data from teff producing farmers in major producing areas around Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. We find that farmers located closer to Addis Ababa face higher wages and land rental prices, and because they receive higher teff prices they have better incentives to intensify production... Our results show that urban proximity should be considered as an important determinant of the process of agricultural intensification and transformation in developing countries. [Download PDF]

Promoting job-rich urbanisation in Zambia  

Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research, 2016

Zambia finds itself at an important juncture in determining its urban future. The country’s policymakers must actively choose to promote its cities as centers of job creation and opportunity... With the process of structural transformation accelerating, Zambia’s cities are assuming greater importance in ensuring its people have access to productive employment. The country is witnessing a dramatic labor market shift, as its workforce moves out of agriculture and into services and industry; between 2008 and 2014, the share of Zambian workers employed in agriculture fell steeply, from 71.4 percent to 48.9 percent. City populations are expanding at an average rate of nearly 4 percent per year. Projections suggest that Zambia must create 1.2 million net new urban jobs by 2025 and 2.8 million by 2035. Despite the country’s robust economic growth, evidence shows that its urban labour markets are not creating enough of the kinds of jobs that will propel inclusive growth and maximise Zambia’s “demographic dividend.” [Download PDF]

(Main image: Flickr/Tony Mendez)