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African urbanisation and poverty

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Publication Details

Author list: Shifa M, Borel-Saladin J

Editor list: Battersby J, Watson V

Edition name or number: 1st edition

Publisher: Routledge

Place: New York

Publication year: 2019

Title of series: Routledge Studies in Food, Society and the Environment

Start page: 29

End page: 41

Total number of pages: 13

ISBN: 978-1-138-72675-8



Current trends and projections of urban growth have led to increased recognition of the importance of cities. The New Urban Agenda (NUA) refers to urbanisation as “one of the 21st century’s most transformative trends” (United Nations General Assembly 2016: 3). Notably, the Agenda recognises the unique urban developmental challenges in developing and least developed countries – especially in Africa – and calls for special attention to be paid to them. This emphasis on African cities seems necessary, given the longstanding perception that Africa is experiencing an “historically rapid rate of urbanisation” (AfDB/OECD/UNDP 2016). By some estimates, the share of urban residents grew from 14% in 1950 to 40% today, with the figure expected to reach 50% by mid- 2030. Despite this, both the extent of urbanisation and the relationship between urbanisation and development in Africa are still hotly contested. In this chapter, we will discuss how and why this contestation has developed. We will begin by discussing how development, economic growth, and urbanisation are defined and then consider the relationship between them. This then leads to a discussion of the conflicting evidence for this relationship in Africa. The existing body of research on this relationship has focused predominantly on large African cities. This, however, means that there is a knowledge gap regarding smaller African cities, which is concerning, considering their growing importance as sites of urbanisation in Africa. It is therefore for this reason that the research of the Consuming Urban Poverty (CUP) project focuses on food security and poverty specifically in the context of secondary African cities.


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Last updated on 2020-20-06 at 22:48