Getting urbanization to work in Africa: the role of the urban land-infrastructure-finance nexus

Year Published 2016
Business unit: Special Projects
Resource type: Journal article
File type: PDF
Theme(s): Economic Development, Human Settlements, Social Development


Ivan Turok, Human Sciences Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa, drafted this journal article that looks at the interplay of urban land, infrastructure and finance. The serious social and environmental problems and risks associated with large-scale urbanization in Africa are widely recognized. However, the potential for urbanization to strengthen economic growth and development across the continent has only recently been grasped. The stakes are high for efforts to ensure that urbanization reinforces rather than retards prosperity, yet urban policies are frequently ambivalent and piecemeal. The development trajectory of cities hinges on the quality of their physical foundations, which underpin functional efficiency and will endure for many decades. Realizing the opportunities of urbanization therefore requires more concerted efforts to plan and manage the form of urban growth. This means reformed arrangements governing the allocation and taxation of land, major investment in urban infrastructure and stronger local institutions to coordinate land and property development.

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