Theories Of Urbanization In Africa

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Urbanization is defined as “the demographic process whereby an increasing share of the nationalpopulation lives within urban settlements.”1Settlements are also defined as urban only if most oftheir residents derive the majority of their livelihoods from non-farm occupations. Throughouthistory, urbanization has been a key force in human and economic development.2According to the UN population bureau (2010), Africa’s population reached more than 1 billionin 2009, of whom around 40% lived in urban areas. It is expected to grow to 2.3 billion by 2050,of whom 60% will be urban. This urbanization is an important challenge for the next fewdecades. According to several research papers and reports, Africa’s urbanization was, in contrastwith most other…show more content…
The first relates to Lewis (1977) focusing on the ‘pull’ side. The second view relates to factors affecting the rural sector that drives the ‘push’ of population shifts into cities. Migration to cities may result from displacement due to civil conflicts, drought or other shocks to agricultural productivity and can be seen as a survival strategy. In Africa, people migrate to urban areas primarily in response to the better job and economic opportunities available (‘pull’) there but also because of climate variability and civil wars. (‘push’) Given the persistence of rural–urban wage gaps in both developed and developing countries, migration to urban areas is unavoidable and even desirable as a way to improve allocation of human resources, especially in land-scarce countries. 19 Africans also migrate to escape for example drought, famine, flooding, internal conflict such as civil war, and inequalities in the spatial distribution of social, cultural and political opportunities. Because Sub-Saharan economies are more dependent on rainfall and agriculture accounts for more than twice the share of GDP there than in other developing regions, climate also causes migration to urban areas. Sub-Saharan Africa suffers from a variety of chronic diseases that affect labor productivity and can be exacerbated by lack of rainfall. Scholars claim that climate change is affecting agriculture productivity and accelerating rural– urban migration. Barrios, Bertinelli and Strobl (2006) use rainfall data to show that low rainfall (low agricultural productivity) is associated with higher contemporary urbanization in Africa. Brückner (2012) finds also that a decrease in the share of agricultural value added leads to a significant increase in urbanization for a panel of 41 African countries during 1960–2007. Poelhekke (2011) explains African urbanization mainly by rural–urban migration as an insurance

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