Giving Compass’ Take:
• African city populations are quickly increasing and the continent needs to be able to support this influx. Authors Robert Muggah and Katie Mill explain the constraints on infrastructure and gaps in necessary resources while providing ways that African cities can start to address these issues.
• Can the international community provide partnerships to bolster African city resources?
• Read about what youth employment in Africa means for the world.
Africans are moving to the city. Already home to the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population, the continent is urbanizing more rapidly than any other part of the planet. Africa’s 1.1 billion citizens will likely double in number by 2050, and more than 80% of that increase will occur in cities, especially slums. The implications of this turbo-charged growth are hard to fathom.
Lagos – already Africa’s largest city – is predicted to expand by an astonishing 77 people every hour between now and 2030.
Make no mistake – Africa’s future is urban. But in the next two decades, African cities will need to do much more, with much less. While national governments will need to step up and implement regulations to raise public finance, African mayors, city residents and businesses cannot afford to wait. A new mindset is urgently required. But this first requires facing up to the scale of the challenge.
The urban infrastructure deficits are daunting. Africans need to spend between $130-170 billion annually to meet the continent’s basic infrastructure needs. Yet the region is already facing financing shortfalls of $68-$108 billion.
The real question is: how will African cities absorb double their population while using just half the resources over the next 20 years? And how can this be done while improving the overall quality of life? A major part of the answer lies in employing new (and home-grown) technologies, building smarter infrastructure and harnessing the dynamism of the informal sector. Here are four ways that African cities might start bridging the infrastructure gap:
- Accelerate investment in technology deployment for smarter urban infrastructure.
- Develop comprehensive data analytics to drive smarter decision-making and investments in the future of African cities.
- Reframe the debate on urban real estate development across Africa.
- Invest in essential cutting-edge research to drive this work forward.
Read the full article about Africa’s population by Robert Muggah and Katie Hill at World Economic Forum
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