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FEATURE STORY

Harnessing Urbanization for Growth and Shared Prosperity in Africa

April 22, 2015


Image

Panelists during the IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings event discuss how African cities can grow in a way that benefits all citizens. Photo: A’Melody Lee/World Bank Group


STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the world’s fastest growing regions
  • Urbanization is a key element of growth in the region
  • A recent seminar focused on the challenges and benefits of urbanization for Africa’s growing cities

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2015—A high-level dialogue focused on Africa’s urban transformation showcased opportunities to drive growth and emphasized the need to act now to build cities that work in a region where, in just 10 years, the urban population will grow to 660 million, adding the equivalent of Nigeria’s current population.

The session “Harnessing Urbanization for Growth and Shared Prosperity in Africa” -- held during the IMF-World Bank Group Spring Meetings – was sponsored by the World Bank’s Africa Region in conjunction with the Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice. The event aimed to initiate a discussion and inform policies on urbanization by introducing findings from new research, using analyses of night and day satellite imagery and other data.

“Africa is the region of the world with the fastest growth in cities,” said Makhtar Diop, the World Bank Vice President for the African region. “Our ability to seize this opportunity depends on how well we address the challenges.” 

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, Senior Director of the World Bank Group’s Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice, noted that “no country has gone from low-income to middle-income to high-income status without urbanization. Urbanization is a key element of growth and the key to lifting entire populations and entire countries out of poverty.”

Panelists brought their own experience to the discussion, with Jean Pierre Mbassi, Secretary General of the United Cities and Local Governments Association, Abdourahmane Cissé, Minister of Budget, Cote d’Ivoire, and Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development joined by presenters Ijjasz-Vasquez, Paul Collier, Professor of Economics, Oxford University, and Marianne Fay, Chief Economist, Climate Change Group, World Bank Group.

The debate revolved around critical issues ranging from how to create jobs in the tradable sector, to financing the vast needs of citizens for services and infrastructure. Presentations highlighted the need to improve land use planning, connecting people to jobs with affordable housing and efficient transportation systems.

With an urbanization rate of 40%, Africa’s urban transformation is only beginning – but citizens spoke out about their day-to-day challenges in a video clip presented at the event. The clip is from an upcoming video on Africa’s urbanization produced by the Discovery Learning Alliance for young students.



" “…No country has gone from low-income to middle-income to high-income status without urbanization. Urbanization is a key element of growth and the key to lifting entire populations and entire countries out of poverty.”  "

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez

Senior Director Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice, World Bank Group


The session attracted a full house of more than 200 participants representing governments in developed and developing countries, researchers, and international aid agencies. A live webcast in French and English and a twitter feed linked in participants from around the world, reflecting strong interest in the debate.

While managing the speed and scale of urbanization presents a difficult challenge for city leaders everywhere, it is particularly complex in Africa, where urbanization is taking place at lower income levels than in other parts of the world that went before.

The session is part of the World Bank’s effort to better understand urbanization in Africa through new research, and assess what policy actions can be taken to ensure that urbanization is well managed, and supports sustainable and inclusive growth.

The Bank is currently producing regional studies on urban spatial development, housing and urban environment, along with eight country specific urbanization reviews in Africa.  This analytical work will inform and guide national and city level policymakers as they think strategically about the opportunities presented by urbanization and tackle the key roadblocks to success.

The Bank is supporting African countries through this process.

In Nairobi and Accra, the Bank is providing support for improved urban management and service delivery through a series of projects that address urban land use and transport systems, solid waste landfill and collection systems, water supply distribution and wastewater networks and facilities.

In Tanzania and Uganda, the Bank is supporting growing secondary cities through multi-city and multi-sector programs that provides support for a wide range of investments to increase productivity, strengthen institutions, and build capacity for better governance, service delivery and accountability. 

The session attracted a full house of more than 100 participants representing governments in developed and developing countries, researchers, and international aid agencies. A live webcast in French and English and a twitter feed linked in participants from around the world, reflecting strong interest in the debate.

 

While managing the speed and scale of urbanization presents a difficult challenge for city leaders everywhere, it is particularly complex in Africa, where urbanization is taking place at lower income levels than in other parts of the world that went before.

 

The session is part of the World Bank’s effort to better understand urbanization in Africa through new research, and assess what policy actions can be taken to ensure that urbanization is well managed, and supports sustainable and inclusive growth.

 

The Bank is currently producing regional studies on urban spatial development, housing and urban environment, along with eight country specific urbanization reviews in Africa.  This analytical work will inform and guide national and city level policymakers as they think strategically about the opportunities presented by urbanization and tackle the key roadblocks to success.

 

The Bank is supporting African countries through this process.

 

In Nairobi and Accra, the Bank is providing support for improved urban management and service delivery through a series of projects that address urban land use and transport systems, solid waste landfill and collection systems, water supply distribution and wastewater networks and facilities.

 

In Tanzania and Uganda, the Bank is supporting growing secondary cities through multi-city and multi-sector programs that provides support for a wide range of investments to increase productivity, strengthen institutions, and build capacity for better governance, service delivery and accountability. 

The session attracted a full house of more than 100 participants representing governments in developed and developing countries, researchers, and international aid agencies. A live webcast in French and English and a twitter feed linked in participants from around the world, reflecting strong interest in the debate.

 

While managing the speed and scale of urbanization presents a difficult challenge for city leaders everywhere, it is particularly complex in Africa, where urbanization is taking place at lower income levels than in other parts of the world that went before.

 

The session is part of the World Bank’s effort to better understand urbanization in Africa through new research, and assess what policy actions can be taken to ensure that urbanization is well managed, and supports sustainable and inclusive growth.

 

The Bank is currently producing regional studies on urban spatial development, housing and urban environment, along with eight country specific urbanization reviews in Africa.  This analytical work will inform and guide national and city level policymakers as they think strategically about the opportunities presented by urbanization and tackle the key roadblocks to success.

 

The Bank is supporting African countries through this process.

 

In Nairobi and Accra, the Bank is providing support for improved urban management and service delivery through a series of projects that address urban land use and transport systems, solid waste landfill and collection systems, water supply distribution and wastewater networks and facilities.

 

In Tanzania and Uganda, the Bank is supporting growing secondary cities through multi-city and multi-sector programs that provides support for a wide range of investments to increase productivity, strengthen institutions, and build capacity for better governance, service delivery and accountability. 


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