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African Urban Futures

Access to new resource related to solving global human and social problems added to PMWL

Resource provided by Daisy Ogutu

6 May 2020 – Kisumu, Kenya – Access to a new resource has been added to the PM World Library (PMWL) related to solving global human and social problems. The new resource is titled “African Urban Futures”, a paper by Bello-Schunemann and Aucoin and published in African Futures (paper 20) in 2016.

Currently, more than half of the world’s population live in urban areas. Globally, Africa remains the least urban continent. Africa’s future is urban but for this to happen, they need to build sustainable urban futures for its population and urban governance needs to improve. By 2030, Africa will host 6 of the world’s 41 megacities. The current and emerging megacities include Cairo, Lagos, Kinshasa, Johannesburg, Luanda and Dar es Salaam. The Northern part is currently Africa’s most urbanized region and has the lowest annual average population growth rates. West Africa, with a much higher population growth rate, is set to overtake North Africa by 2032 as the continent’s most urbanized region. Eastern Africa/the Horn, is the only region in which the majority of the people is likely to still live in rural areas by 2050. Africa’s level of urbanization is high relative to the continent’s income level. In the longer term, urbanization is expected to promote human development, but not necessarily for all. Growth that doesn’t benefit the poor is likely to exacerbate existing inequalities.

Megacities in Africa (and the rest of the developing world) are growing at absolute rates unprecedented in history. The rapid population growth rate and slow structural economic transformation, pervasive poverty, widespread socio-economic and spatial exclusion, sharp inequalities and environmental degradation can all drag economic development and compromise the potential future gains of the urban transition. According to the report, more than half (55%) of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) urban population live in slums. This is more than any other major world region. With the expected youth bulge, the levels of violence in urban areas is expected to increase, however, the relationship between urbanization and violence is anything but clear.

In the coming decades, urbanization decisions will shape the living conditions of many citizens for centuries to come. Africa needs strategic foresight and integrated long-term urban planning, but short-term interventions are also required. According to the African Economic Outlook 2016, African governments and the private sector need to invest twice as much by 2050 as they have since the years of independence. Some experts argue that given the relatively early stage of urbanization in Africa, there’s still enough time to steer the process in a positive direction. Urbanization is one of the most important mega trends in Africa.

To access this new resource, go to the Solving Global Problems section of the library at, scroll down and click on “Urbanization”, scroll down to resource. Free access to all, but please consider registering for the Free Trial Membership

This new resource provided through the PMWL university research internship program; to learn more, click here