Monday
July 29
2019

Africa’s Cities Are About to Boom – and Maybe Explode

By Judd Devermont and Todd Moss

Africa is rural. Or that’s what senior Western officials envision when they talk about the continent. America’s top diplomat for the region, Tibor Nagy, recently said that Africa is “by and large an agricultural society.” He isn’t alone: Germany’s recent Marshall Plan with Africa insists that “rural areas will determine Africa’s future.”

This is wrong. Dangerously wrong.

Africa is increasingly urbanized, and its future will be shaped not in sleepy remote spaces but in the dense vibrant clusters of Lagos, Addis Ababa and Kinshasa. Big cities are becoming the engine of the continent, with huge implications for future energy needs, security, governance and public services – as well as rising risks if urban growth is poorly managed.

Photo courtesy of eva_lutter.

Source: Bloomberg (link opens in a new window)

Tags
emerging markets, global development, rural development, urban development