ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
The World Bank has called for aggressive
investment in infrastructure and land markets reform to speed up
economic growth in African cities, said a new WB Report released
The report “Africa’s
Cities: Opening Doors to the World” underlined that
infrastructure investment and land market reforms are key to
accelerating economic growth, adding jobs and improving city
It noted that to
grow economically as they are growing in size, Africa’s cities
must open their doors and connect to the world.
population stands at 472 million people, and as cities grow in
size, another 187 million people are expected be added to urban
areas by 2025.
population will double over the next 25 years, reaching 1
billion people by 2040, predicted the report.
The report however
said investments in African cities’ infrastructure, industrial
and commercial structures have not kept pace with the
concentration of people, and neither have investments in
affordable formal housing.
There is great
potential for coordinated investments in infrastructure,
residential and commercial structures, which will enhance
agglomeration economies and connect people with jobs, it said.
Due to lack of this
connection, African cities are among the costliest in the world
both for businesses and for households, leaving cities out of
“service and closed for business.”
“What Africa needs
are more affordable, connected, and livable cities,” said
Makhtar Diop, WB Vice President for Africa.
The report said
Africa is urbanizing at lower incomes than other developing
regions with similar urbanization levels.
at lower incomes means that capital investment in African cities
has remained relatively low in the region for the past four
decades, at around 20 percent of GDP, according to the report,
which noted that in contrast, urbanizing countries in East Asia
like China and Japan stepped up capital investment during their
African cities are
29 percent more expensive than cities in countries at similar
income levels. African households face higher costs relative to
their capita GDP with housing costing 55 percent more than in
other regions, the report indicated.
The key to freeing
Africa’s cities from their low-development trap is to set them
on path toward physical and economic density, connecting them
for higher efficiency and boosting expectations for the future,
according to the report.