A population growth and rapid urbanization in Africa: Implications for sustainability
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The realties of rapid urbanization and population growth in Africa are objectively patent with the realities of diversity of challenges, constraints and threats to service delivery in urban centres. Urban centres are attraction centres for rural population and, through multiplier effects, population sizes continue to grow concomitant with the demand for the services (hospitals, schools, industrial and commercial zones, security, etc.). This paper will explore the historical and contemporary challenges of population growth by way of looking at case studies of Nigeria (Lagos), South Africa (Johannesburg), Zimbabwe (Harare), Ethiopia (Addis Ababa), Kenya (Nairobi), Egypt (Cairo) and Rwanda (Kigali). These countries give a diversity of experiences when put together given the differences in institutions and cultures, historical backgrounds, political economy and other structural proclivities. Such an analysis helps in the formulation of the ‘appropriate’ nomenclature and taxonomy of the subject of urbanisation (and ruralisation, as it were). Socially, most urban centres in Africa have gone through metamorphoses and transitions from white domination to black majority rule. The advent of political independence has opened the gates for the former ruralites resulting in novel challenges which had hitherto been unforeseen (particularly, the increased demand for housing, which, in its own right is indivisible with other socio-economic facets of urban centres). Economically, this transition has heralded calls for black economic empowerment or indigenisation programmes which have beckoned for more urban space being allocated for enterprise. Space allocation for any land-use calls for installation of the supporting infrastructure (roads, water utilities, electricity, buildings and/or shelter, etc). The paper maps out the nesting effect of these challenges in a bid to overcome them so as to produce viable urban economies for the 21st Century Africa, in which amenity, harmony and sustainability are the chief objects. Urban development policy is recommended is the prime solution to attaining the three mentioned objects. This is founded on the notions of balancing between and within settlements (rural and urban) in an economy, urban modelling and stewardship.
Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa:Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Clarion, Pennsylvania