The urban poor have been too long ignored


In this blog post published by IRIN, editor Obi Anyadike draws attention to the many challenges faced by African cities. Despite large intra-regional disparities, Africa overall is urbanising rapidly; nearly 40% of its people already live in urban settings. Moreover, nearly half of Africa’s urban population – and a fifth of the total population – live in “small” urban centres or secondary cities. However, African cities face major obstacles that impede development: 1) African cities are crowded, “but not economically dense.” More investments in infrastructure, business, and affordable housing are needed. “It is an urbanisation of people, not capital,” explains Anyadike. 2) African cities are disconnected. They are collections of small, fragmented neighbourhoods poorly served by unreliable transportation. 3) African cities are costly, both for residents and businesses. This rapid urban growth is outpacing policy reforms. It is time for urgent reforms in African cities.