Could well-managed urban development in Africa increase access to basic services and reduce aggregate infrastructure investment costs? New cities creation is directly linked to Development as it can unlock the power of its urbanization process for improved economic, social, and environmental outcomes, while avoiding locking in the disadvantages of dysfunctional, unplanned urbanization.
New cities have been introduced in Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Mozambique. There is an opportunity to develop Africa’s cities and a national network of urban centers which are compact, connected, and coordinated (the 3Cs model). This approach can enhance evolution, productivity and attractiveness while reducing infrastructure costs and increasing access to services through agglomeration and better distribution of activity, helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and making sure the International commitments are met.
International evidence also suggests compact, connected urban development can be more inclusive, cleaner, resilient, quieter, and safer, if undertaken in the right way. Many African countries risk creating a sprawling and uncompetitive urban structure with high infrastructure costs. As their continue to be unplanned as they mushroom.
A recent investigation by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine said that overcrowded cities can lead people to “congregate in slums with little or no electricity” which “fuel extremism and chaos.”.
The question is, when do the African states need to start embarking on their new city development aligned to their national and international development goals? It is good to note that Africa is not that bad if you know what your cities need to take off and make development.
What is our expectation of the new cities in Africa?
1. Regional integration of infrastructure for enhanced trading with its neighbors, through investment in transport infrastructure.
2. Secondary city development in the strategic economic corridors that is focused on both economic zoning and regional balance, reducing the current pressure on the capital cities.
3. A focus on enhanced productivity and formal job creation within urban centers.
4. Improving competitiveness for growth and jobs, and connecting it to other growing cities.EPRC Report
Can we then predict that Cities will be the trigger for Africa’s Development?