Urbanization is the single most important transformation that the African continent will undergo this century. More than half of Africa’s population will live in its cities by 2040.
Well-managed urbanization has the potential to propel growth, enable job creation and end poverty. There is global evidence that there are strong correlations between urbanization, economic growth and poverty reduction in fact, middle income status is always accompanied by urbanization. Cities are engines of economic growth, attracting and galvanizing entrepreneurs and productive capital, and this potential can also be harnessed to achieve reductions in poverty.
Africa needs to act urgently on three key priorities in order to address these challenges and reap the economic and social benefits of urbanization. Strong commitment and broad consensus is needed
to: reform the policy and legal framework for better integration of city planning and management; increase the scale and quality of investments in infrastructure; and strengthen the institutions and systems that make cities both competitive and sustainable.
This is the overarching message of this paper, which explores how the World Bank can help Africa harness the potential benefits of urbanization.
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