Monday, March 2, 2009

Urbanizing Africa

A recent report in The Standard showed that African cities are now growing faster then their economies which is causing about whether current infrastructure in these cities can handle a booming population. The article reports:

"The State of African Cities 2008’, the African continent, which is the least urbanised region in the world with 39 per cent of its population living in the cities, is also reported to be the fastest urbanising region.

...Equally alarming is that not only is the African continent transforming into an urban majority, but urban life has become intertwined with a host of developmental challenges."

The urbanization of Africa could bring about a radical shift in the economies, culture and politic of many African nations. Unfortunately, just like many other parts of the world, new residents are now entering cities to enjoy urban living but rather out of survival. Like other parts of the world, farmers and agricultural societies can no longer support themselves on the yield of the land due to a host of economic and environmental factors. Many are moving to cities as the last resort, only to end up in an overcrowded slum or shanteytown.

Some experts predict that there are over 2 Billion people in the world living in slums today. Hopefully the urbanization of Africa won't add to that number and planners along with governments will learn from other countries problems. The report continues to state:

"To address traffic congestion, pollution and rising traffic fatalities, the report suggests that cities should consider options that reduce the reliance on private cars."

Maybe this is step in the right direction. Your thoughts?

No comments: