Linking urbanisation and development in Africa's economic revival
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In this chapter the author seeks to explore the unfolding relationship between urbanisation and economic development in Africa. The main proposition pursued is that there is no necessary or inherent connection between these phenomena. Much depends on the context in which urbanisation occurs and the form taken by economic growth. The economic environment in many parts of Africa has been insecure and unfavourable in recent decades, so it is not surprising that city economies have performed poorly, despite expanding urban populations. Indeed, urban demographic growth may have made things worse by contributing to overloaded infrastructure and general congestion. I also touch on the policy implications. If the relationship between urbanisation
and development is not close, it follows that the level or rate of urbanisation should not be an important goal of policy makers. Governments should not seek to accelerate or restrict rural-urban migration, but should rather focus on strengthening the economic base of cities and improving the 'quality' or dynamics of urbanisation. By this creating and protecting all kinds of spaces for productive activities, as well as giving people meaningful choices and better access to urban opportunities.