The State of African Cities 2014

Re-Imagining Sustainable Urban Transitions

image of The State of African Cities 2014
The African continent is currently in the midst of simultaneously unfolding and highly significant demographic, economic, technological, environmental, urban and socio-political transitions. Africa’s economic performance is promising, with booming cities supporting growing middle classes and creating sizable consumer markets. Despite significant overall growth, the continent continues to suffer under very rapid urban growth accompanied by massive urban poverty and many other social problems. These seem to indicate that the development trajectories followed by African nations since post-independence may not be able to deliver on the aspirations of broad based human development and prosperity for all. This report, therefore, argues for a bold re-imagining of prevailing models in order to steer the ongoing transitions towards greater sustainability based on a thorough review of all available options. That is especially the case since the already daunting urban challenges in Africa are now being exacerbated by the new vulnerabilities and threats associated with climate and environmental change.



Executive summary

The current report is the third in The State of African Cities series. The first, The State of African Cities 2008: A framework for addressing urban challenges in Africa , was explorative and analyzed general urban conditions and trends and identified benchmarks. It drew the attention to very rapid future growth of African cities and towns; to the apparent inability of local authorities to deal with present, let alone future urban population increases; and to the need for Africa to prepare for new urban configurations very different from the traditional concepts that see a city as an urban area within a clearly defined boundary and governed by a single municipal authority.


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