Category: AIF Issue 45

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EDITORIAL: Africa’s Megacities: boom or bust

Regular readers of Africa in Fact will recall our edition on local government (April 2016), which established a new template for the journal, with more space for articles and an attractive design based on high-quality photography and useful infographics. Following that, we instituted a process of continuous improvement that has seen the journal become a […]

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The politics of service delivery in African cities

Due to the economic relevance and growing concentration of voters in African cities, these territorial entities represent sites of intense political competition Urbanisation represents one of the main demographic transformations confronting sub-Saharan Africa today, with attendant implications for the region’s long-term development trajectory. Although debate exists over whether Africa can be accurately classified as the […]

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Land grabs and muggers

Surging crime and broken dreams reveal the underbelly of this rapidly expanding east African capital Michael Mwaura graduated from the University of Nairobi’s School of Business in 2009 and within two months secured a job with a leading audit firm in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city. Despite being under pressure from his colleagues and peers to […]

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A downward spiral of public services

Vested political interests have made it impossible for Harare’s mayor to implement a business strategy he believed would turn around service delivery in the city Zimbabwe’s local government system was once considered to be one of the best in Africa, we learn from a 2004 government document. Indeed, the country’s robust local governments were cherished […]

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Running out of road

Lagos is arguably the most challenging Nigerian state to run, but it is also the most attractive in which to run for governor “Wherever you are in this country, in fact on this continent, there’s no place like Lagos,” says Seun Olaniyi, a middle-aged engineer who has recently relocated from Nigeria’s commercial capital to Abuja, […]

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Sidelined by policymakers

The ANC and previous regimes have all seen rural areas as more deserving of attention and resources than cities, making it nearly impossible to talk seriously about urban policy Since the end of apartheid a central issue of democratic governance should have been to rethink the political economy of cities. However, continuities from past to […]

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Where justice is measured in dollars

Kinshasa is set to become one of Africa’s largest megacities by 2030, but its land governance is in need of major reform Antoine* bought a plot of land in Kimbanseke, on the outskirts of Kinshasa, nearly 12 years ago. He used to rent out part of it to a small shop and has been developing […]

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Turning challenges into opportunities

African city governments face complex challenges, but they have many good governance tools at their disposal Cities are a recent phenomenon in Africa. In 1950, there was not a single city with a population of over one million in Africa; today there are around 50. Many of the continent’s burgeoning cities – among them Accra, […]

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Cities: why simplistic, topdown interventions will fail

New Urban Worlds: Inhabiting Dissonant Times by AbdouMaliq Simone and Edgar Pieterse, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2017 Simone and Pieterse are passionate “rogue scholars” who want to make cities more responsive to the needs of the majority of their residents, the poor and unemployed. In setting out to do so, they examine patterns of urbanisation in […]

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Living on the periphery

The African middle class isn’t strong enough to drive the economic development required to cope with the influx of new urban dwellers Obed Ndhlovu laughed a hearty chuckle that was tinged with bemusement. A rat had darted across his neat three by three-metre shack, startling his visitor on a Sunday morning. Nearby, some men were […]

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Nourishing Africa’s urban transition

For the most part, urban farming in African cities is a livelihood strategy without official sanction or acknowledgement According to the UN Population Division, the proportion of Africans living in urban centres will rise from a little over 40% at present to more than half the continental population by 2050. Africa’s future will increasingly depend […]

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