chapter  20
18 Pages

Africa’s urban revolution and the informal economy

ByKEITH HART

Africa has become poorer in the last half-century, but, from being the most sparsely populated continent around 1900, Africa’s seventh of the world’s population now equals its share of the total land mass; and urbanization there is fast approaching the global average of around 50 per cent. We need to understand this ‘urban revolution’ of unprecedented speed and scale; and specifically to identify how Africa’s urban economies might act as a springboard for economic development in the coming century. The continent is divided into three disparate regions – North, South and Middle (West, Central and East Africa); but a measure of convergence between them is now taking place.