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African urbanization trends

African nations are seeing the highest rate of urbanization throughout the globe. Much of this is due to rural urban migration patterns as people seek jobs and better lives.

“The primary destination point of all four forms of migration is urban spaces and as noted earlier rapid urbanization is the direct result of the migration observed. Available statistics indicate a current rate of urbanization in Africa of around 3.5 percent per year. This rate is the highest in the world, and is resulting in the rapid growth of urban agglomerations throughout the region. The region is now heavily urbanized as table 2 shows. Cities in the region are currently overwhelmed by the sheer shock of demographic change and population explosion. West African cities will still have to accommodate an additional 79 million until 2040, and another 84 million between 2040 and 2050.”

Implications from ACET:

“Strong demographic growth in a city is neither good nor bad on its own. Experience shows that across the world, urbanization has been associated with improved human development, rising incomes and better living standards. However, these benefits do not come automatically; they require well-devised public policies that can steer demographic growth, turn urban accumulation of activities and resources into healthy economies, and ensure equitable distribution of wealth. When public policies are of benefit only for small political or economic elites, urbanization will almost inevitably result in instability, as cities become unlivable for rich and poor alike.”

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