African leaders asked to resist flashy projects, focus on efficient development – World Bank

Cities in sub-Saharan Africa are experiencing rapid population growth rate, yet their economic growth has not kept pace, the World Bank Group has said.

The Bank says it may be partly due to low capital investment, due in part to Africa’s relative poverty.

However, the Bank is hopeful that African leaders can still set cities unto more efficient development paths if they act swiftly by resisting flashy projects and pursuing formalized land markets, clarify property rights, and institute effective urban planning.

Secondly, African leaders should make early and coordinated infrastructure investments that allow for inter dependence among sites, structures, and basic services.

It further indicated that, African leaders must also make it a major priority to improve urban transport.

The World Bank advised that for African cities to grow economically as they grow in size, they need to specialize in manufacturing, along with other regionally and globally tradable goods and services.

Africa, it says  will be twice as large in 25 years and the most populous cities are growing as fast as four per cent annually which means  productive jobs, affordable housing  and effective infrastructure will be urgently needed for residents.

City growth will be central to development in Africa as it has been elsewhere and by starting with reforms to land markets and regulations, making early and coordinated infrastructure investments, governments can take control of urbanization and build more connected and productive African cities, the group noted.

By Pamela Ofori-Boateng

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