Thinking differently about Africa’s urbanisation
In this viewpoint, published by Le Point Afrique, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of AUDA NEPAD and SWAC Honorary President, calls for a paradigm change to support Africa’s urban transition. “In response to Africa’s urban realities, we must review the way we plan our programmes and provide appropriate institutional responses. This requires, for example, a new understanding of rural exodus and its role in triggering urbanisation,” Mayaki says. Rural villages are expanding and progressively transforming into new urban agglomerations. For example, Niger counted some 143 villages in 2015, with a population of 5 000 - 10 0000 people. To date, nearly a quarter of them (29 villages) have transformed into urban agglomerations, with populations of more than 10 000 people. Rural transformation (not rural exodus) has thus become a key driver of urbanisation. Moreover, Mayaki insists on the importance of correcting some of deep-rooted misconceptions about Africa’s vast areas. “Africa is already urban,” he reminds readers. The design of appropriate and efficient policy interventions depends on understanding more about these urban realities.