It is commonplace these days to say that Africa’s cities are growing rapidly. In fact, some analysts contend that this transition from a rural to an urban society is the fastest experienced in modern history. While there is some dispute over how fast cities are growing, there is no question that significant economic, social and political transformations are shaping Africans’ everyday lives. Drawing on statistical and qualitative evidence, my talk will show that while cities face significant economic, infrastructure and governance challenges they remain integral to the continent’s growth. Without cities, Africa’s economic prospects are bleak. And, even as cities struggle to provide adequate urban services, they nevertheless act as protective buffers for Africa’s households, providing social infrastructure that supports life in both urban and rural areas. The talk concludes with an agenda for sustainable and inclusive African urban policies.
Speaker Dr. Caroline Wanjiku Kihato
Dr. Caroline Wanjiku Kihato is a Visiting Researcher at the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and a Global Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Washington DC. In 2011, she received a MacArthur grant on Migration and Development. Her research and teaching interests are migration, gender, governance, and urbanization in the global South.
Chair: Dr. Colin Marx
This lecture is part of the African Voices Series and will be followed by a reception from 630pm-730pm which all attendees are welcome to attend.