Working Paper No. 7
Africa’s Urbanization: Challenges and Opportunities
Authors: Maria E. Freire, Somik Lall, and Danny Leipziger
Africa is urbanizing fast. Its rate of urbanization soared from 15 percent in 1960 to 40 percent in 2010, and is projected to reach 60 percent in 2050. Urban populations in Africa are expected to triple in the next 50 years, changing the profile of the region, and challenging policy makers to harness urbanization for sustainable and inclusive growth. Urbanization is not a subplot, but rather the main policy narrative for Africa. This paper addresses the question of what is required to make African cities efficient, sustainable, and inclusive and uses economic geography as an organizing framework for policy recommendations that support agglomeration benefits while managing congestion costs.
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