By Jacob Nato, Humphrey Njogu, Rose Ngugi, Aloysius Uche Ordu, Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez
At about 4.4 percent, Africa has the fastest urbanization rate globally. Already, the region has reached 40 percent urbanization and by 2050, the number of urban residents will have doubled. Moreover, about 60 percent of Africa’s urban population today lives in informal low-income neighborhoods.
In most countries, urbanization leads to substantial productivity gains supported by scale, density, and agglomeration. Better connected people and firms lead to savings in transport and logistics, technological and information spillovers, and more efficient labor markets. However, Africa’s urbanization has not realized the full potential and benefits of such agglomeration. The economic transformation and benefits of urbanization, observed in other regions, are yet to be achieved in sub-Saharan Africa.
To understand the barriers, and unlock the economic opportunities of urbanization, the Africa Growth Initiative (AGI) at the Brookings Institution developed an “Urban Economic Growth Framework for African cities.” The framework focuses on the three primary constraints limiting a city’s ability to benefit from agglomeration and generate…