With Africa’s growth expected to leap from 3.7 percent in 2016 to 4.5 percent in 2017, the continent needs to build economic opportunities while also focusing on urban development, the new report has indicated.
The African economic Outlook 2016 report indicates that for Africa to achieve the expected growth needs to begin molding policies and strategies towards urbanization to have more people in cities.
“We need to invest in building economic opportunities, especially those of women of which 92% work in the informal sector. Cities and towns have a key role to play in that process,” said Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, the director of the regional bureau for Africa at the United Nations Development Programme on Monday.
But Dieye during the launch of the report at the African Development Bank Group’s 51st Annual Meetings in Lusaka, Zambia warned that this will be effective, “only if governments take bold policy action.”
He adds, “The benefits could accrue for both urban and rural dwellers, provided governments adopt an integrated approach.”
The report indicated that two thirds of Africans are expected to live in cities by 2050 while the population living in cities has doubled from 1995 to 472 million in 2015 which shows how critical urbanization will be on the continent’s future.
“Ongoing endeavors to promote efficient multi-level governance systems, including decentralisation, capacity building and increased transparency, at all government levels should be strengthened,’ the report indicated.
The report says that urbanization can help advance economic development through higher agricultural productivity, industrialization, services driven by the growth o the middle class foreign direct investments.
“Turning Africa’s steady resilience into better lives for Africans requires strong policy action to promote faster and more inclusive growth,” stated Abebe Shimeles, acting director, development research department, at the African Development Bank.
Further, the report calls for improved infrastructure and services to link rural areas, strengthened real estates sector, development of intermediary cities.