Opportunities can curb urban migration in Africa

Posted on August 13, 2013 01:56 am

The latest statistics indicate that 300 million people, live in urban areas in Africa and in the less than 17 years from now in 2030, this is expected to grow to roughly 54 %. Africa’s rate of urbanization currently at 3.5% per year is the highest globally and there are estimated over 40 cities in Africa with a million plus population and by 2015, estimated 70 cities will have populations of one million. According to multiple research millions of urban residents return home during festival season to spend time with their loved ones, leaving the cities and urban areas virtually empty. That normally frees congested streets with automotive snarl up flowing like summer Europe. That situation, just like after summer in Europe however, is short lived when the urban dwellers return to their respective cities, often bringing with them friends and family members. This year, authorities in various African cities estimated urban population has risen by 10 million as rural folks make their way to the much more developed cities in search of employment and a better livelihood.

An official involved in various urban planning in Africa intimated to me that most governments are working secretly to discourage urban migration. He cited rich agricultural rural areas historically as the most significant sources of cities bound migration. The large number of rural migrants places enormous stress on the less developed public services and infrastructure. Already stretched, African governments have been providing services to immigrants who come to the cities looking for jobs. Unless authorities seeks a solution to the problem and improves the situation, this trend will continue, as people look for work in the cities like has been the case with Tanzania’s commercial capital of Dar Es salaam that accounts for more than 60% of the country’s economy. Me think that the only way to stop such trends is to create new growth opportunities in outback and boondock. In order for this to happen, the African governments must work with regional ones to create jobs and encourage investment so that people can find bread and butter at rural homes, rather than in urban areas where many consider as the “rock farms.”

Contador Harrison