Can Africa learn from the Chinese urbanisation story?

IGC publication
Astrid Haas
Nicolas Lippolis
Abstract

This paper provides a framework to understand the similarities and differences between Africa’s current urbanisation pathway and the path China has taken over the last 30 years.

A major difference is that Africa’s urbanisation to date has not been associated with anywhere near the same gains in productivity and poverty reduction that have been seen in China. Instead, the growth of Africa’s cities has more often been associated with development challenges such as the rise of slums, unemployment and political instability. However, with well-implemented and far-sighted public policy, this trend could be reversed and urbanisation could unlock a process of sustained and inclusive development in Africa.