African policymakers urged to optimise opportunities presented by urbanisation

AdobeStock 130000002Strategic national responses to the urbanisation wave in Africa need to be accompanied by sectoral national policies that factor spatial considerations. (Image source: el9th/Adobe Stock)A report by the Economic Commission for Africa’s Social Development Policy Division (SDPD) on the integration of urbanisation in national development planning aims to strengthen member States’ knowledge and capacities in integrating urbanisation into national development planning frameworks for Africa’s structural transformation

Urbanisation can play an immense role in the economic and social transformation of Africa hence the need for the continent to harness the phenomenon for a long-term inclusive and sustainable vision and goals by unleashing the potential of cities to be drivers of local, regional and national level economic and social development, said chief of employment and social protection in the Economic Commission for Africa’s Social Development Policy Division (SDPD) Saurabh Sinha.

Sinha was speaking to participants attending an experts group meeting on integrating urbanisation in national development planning for inclusive and sustainable cities in Africa on behalf of SDPD director, Thokozile Ruzvidzo.

“However, while urbanisation is necessary for structural transformation, it is not sufficient. The quality of cities can facilitate the growth of productive sectors, or can constrict it. In particular, the extent to which a city is productive and competitive matters,” said Sinha.

He pointed out that a strategic national response to the urbanisation wave in Africa must be accompanied by strategic sectoral national policies that adequately factor spatial considerations.

He noted that despite commitment at highest levels and the strategic importance of cities, the integration of urbanisation into African national and regional policy frameworks as a cross-cutting factor had been limited. Urbanisation, is still perceived from a compartmentalised viewpoint with focus on specific issues such as housing, infrastructure, slums and environmental degradation.

“There is wide agreement across the continent that the main challenge confronting Africa is therefore not only to maintain robust economic growth, but also to transform it into sustained and inclusive development based on a new economic model which is based on economic diversification, with a special focus on industrialisation and modernisation of agriculture,” he said.

Sinha said a key foundation for accelerating structural transformation was the formulation of long-term national development plans, adding evidence around the world suggests that linking economic and urban development generated positive interactions and spillovers that improve productivity and well-being.

Experts attending the meeting, including policy makers, are in the next two days expected to review and validate a report by the ECA’s SDPD on the integration of urbanisation in national development planning on the continent.

The report aims to strengthen member States’ knowledge and capacities in integrating urbanisation into national development planning frameworks and processes to promote inclusive and sustainable cities for Africa’s structural transformation.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W: www.alaincharles.com

twn Are you sure that you want to switch to desktop version?