A World Bank Report says African cities are suffering due to their crowded, disconnected and costly development trajectory.
The report says that the need for higher wages to pay higher living cost makes firms less productive and competitive, keeping them out of tradable sectors, and as the result, African cities are avoided by potential regional and global investors and trading partners, they remain local in scope dampening their competitive potential.
The report also stated that Africa needs to strengthen institutions that govern land market and coordinate urban and infrastructure planning.
Presenting the report, the senior Director of Social, urban, Rural, and Resilience Global Practice Ede Lijjasz- Vasquez said African leaders and policy makers need to focus on early coordinated infrastructure investments, adding that without this, they will remain local cities, closed to regional and global markets, but trapped into producing only locally traded goods and services and limited in their economic expansion.
He also stresses the need for African cities to create an internationally competitive tradable sector in order to stay open for business, and for that to happen, he said city leaders must urgently have a strong and new urban development path for Africa.
He said improving living condition in African cities by aggressively investing in infrastructure and reforming land markets hold the key to Africa growth through economic diversification.
He said the major challenge in Africa is urbanizing at lower income levels -strikingly poorer than other developing regions with similar urbanization levels. He said housing investment in Africa has also lagged behind than in other low income and middle income economies.
Written by Bridgett Milton