African countries should improve essential amenities such as housing, education, drinking water and health in intermediate cities on the continent and enable them to act as buffers against uncontrolled rural-urban migration, de senior officials of a pan-African lender.
Babati Mokgethi, senior urban development officer at the African Development Bank (AfDB), said the solution to the population explosion, crime, poverty and pollution in the continent’s major metropolises lay in redesigning intermediate cities.
“It is crucial to redirect a large part of the rural population in Africa to intermediate cities in order to reduce the pressure on the big cities,” Mokgethi said on the sidelines of the ongoing Africities summit in Kisumu, western Kenya.
Mokgethi said investing in medium-sized cities will boost economic vitality in Africa’s rural hinterland while serving as a breeding ground for skilled labor migrating to metropolises in search of employment. elusive jobs.
He said midstream cities that are currently home to around 15% of Africa’s population need modern transport infrastructure, reliable water supply and affordable housing to thrive.
Nnenna Nwabufo, Managing Director for East Africa at the AfDB, said that by absorbing most of Africa’s rural population, intermediary cities could protect the continent from unsustainable urbanization.
Nwabufo said African governments should come up with innovative financial, legislative and policy tools to enhance the sustainable growth of intermediary cities and harness them to tackle poverty, unemployment and ecological degradation.
According to Nwabufo, intermediary cities were key to the vitality of Africa’s agribusiness sector, indigenous manufacturing, cross-border trade and skills transfer.
She called for investment in essential services like clean energy, drinking water, health, sanitation and fiber optic cable to attract investment to intermediary cities.
Kenya is hosting the ninth edition of the Africities Summit under the theme “The Role of Intermediary Cities in Africa in Implementing the United Nations Agenda 2030 and the African Union Agenda 2063”.
More than 4,000 delegates, including former heads of state and government, ministers, mayors, investors and activists, are expected to come up with new strategies to accelerate urban renewal on the continent.