Africa’s Urbanisation Dynamics 2022

The Economic Power of Africa’s Cities

This report provides a new perspective on Africa’s urban economies that is unique in its breadth and level of detail. Based on data from more than 4 million individuals and firms in 2 600 cities across 34 countries, it presents compelling evidence that urbanisation contributes to better economic outcomes and higher living standards. It shows that across most socio-economic dimensions, cities significantly outperform the countries in which they are located. In Africa, urbanisation accounts for approximately 30% of the growth in per capita gross domestic product (GDP) over the past 20 years. Importantly, the gains from urbanisation on economic performance and quality of life extend beyond city boundaries, also benefiting rural areas. The report also shows that transnational clusters of cities are emerging along coasts as well as inland, offering new opportunities for economic development. Based on these findings, the report sets forth policy priorities at national and local levels that are essential to realise the potential of urbanisation. Among these, it argues that the role of cities should be fully anchored in national development planning. Moreover, local governments need greater fiscal and administrative capacity to become key actors in economic development.

Published on April 26, 2022Also available in: French

In series:West African Studiesview more titles


The Sahel and West Africa Club
Abbreviations and Acronyms
Executive summary
New evidence on Africa’s urban economy
City clusters, connectivity and economic integration in Africa
Anchoring the role of cities in national economic planning
The role of local governments in economic development policy
Financing African Urbanisation: Increasing the fiscal capacity of African cities
Perspectives on Africa’s urbanisation from policy makers and experts
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