Africa facing the challenges of urbanization

Published in the dossier of July 2017

Over the next twenty-five years, the African population will increase from 472 million to one billion inhabitants. For the time being, given the rapid urbanization phenomenon paired with a still insufficient level of wealth, the amount of productive investment in African cities has remained relatively low over the past four decades (around 20% of GDP). This contrasts with East Asian countries (China, Japan and South Korea), which have intensified this kind of investment during their urban boom. Moreover, the population concentration process in cities has not been accompanied by adequate investment in urban infrastructure and other industrial and commercial structures, or by an appropriate affordable housing offering. Because they are poorly served, African cities are today among the most expensive in the world. It is therefore essential to better control urban development on the continent, in order to enhance the economic and social benefits brought by urbanization.

Source: World Bank Report “Africa’s Cities: Opening Doors to the World” -February 2017.