March 4, 2020

Addressing the Challenges of Urbanization in Africa

Africa is the world’s least urbanized continent, and yet the rate at which its cities are expanding is growing faster than no other worldwide – at an average of 3.5 percent per year. This growth of urbanization does, however, vary across the continent, ranging from the already heavily urbanized North Africa (47.8 percent) to the least urbanized Sub-Saharan Africa (32.8 percent).The aggregate rate of urbanization on the continent is projected to grow from 40 percent in 2015 to 56 percent in 2050.
The enormous speed at which Africa’s cities are growing is linked to other key development trends, most prominently accelerating economic and population growth, increasing migration from rural to urban areas, and the youth bulge. It is strongly driven by Africans’ perceptions that cities – in contrast to the continent’s rural areas – offer an abundance of livelihood opportunities, including employment and income-generating opportunities, food security, and access to finance, education and social capital as well as social protection.

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