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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.

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Urban planning and resource management

Eastern African cities are characterized by sprawl, high levels of slums and informality, with limited institutional capacity to regulate, administer and manage housing and land market functions. Internal conflicts in the sub-region have crippled central governments and local municipalities in countries such as Somalia. Essentially, cities in Eastern Africa are fast growing, with the majority of growth taking place in slums. Ineffective and dual (formal and informal) land management systems present Eastern African governments with many local-level challenges, especially in terms of infrastructure provision and access to services. There is also a significant lack of monitoring and measuring systems that can provide data required to inform strategy-making and implementation. Informal systems fill a gap in the absence of adequate state capacity and political will to organize effective systems of governance and provide a sociocultural framework through which land markets can continue to operate.

English

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