The European Business Council for Africa

Urbanisation is one the most profound transformations that the African continent will undergo in the 21st century. Since 1990, the number of cities in Africa has doubled in number - from 3 300 to 7 600 - their cumulative population has increased by 500 million people. Africa’s cities are the most rapidly growing cities in the world; they are the youngest and they are changing fast. Their impact on Africa’s economic, social and political landscape in the coming decades is likely to be profound. Urbanisation, therefore, presents immense opportunities to accelerate progress towards the 2030 and 2063 development agendas and for promoting continental integration in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). For African policy makers, it also entails very important challenges in planning, managing and financing urban growth, both at the local and the national levels. In many places in Africa and beyond, there is a prevaling negative perception of the externalities of urbanisation and its impact on development. This has slowed policy processes to make urbanisation a central part of Africa's development strategies.

This report presents compelling evidence - from 2 600 cities across 34 countries - that urbanisation in Africa contributes to better economic outcomes and higher standards of living. It shows that in most socio‑economic dimensions, Africa’s cities significantly outperform the countries in which they are located, and that the gap between the performance of African cities and the national averages is larger than in many other parts of the world. One of the most underappreciated achievements of African cities over the last 30 years has been that, despite growing by 500 million people, they have maintained their economic performance, providing several hundred million people with better jobs and improved access to services and infrastructure. Positive spillovers from urbanisation are also spreading to rural areas, which benefit from proximity to cities.


Please read the full report here