Poverty and the composition of urbanisation

Should Tanzania foster growth through investment in large cities, concentrating on reducing congestion costs there and banking on economies of scale and agglomeration to drive development? Or should the same total amount of investment be more geographically spread across secondary towns to increase exposure of the hinterlands to urban centres?

The Bank of Tanzania, in partnership with the IGC, hosted Luc Christiaensen, Joachim De Weerdt, and Ravi Kanbur on Saturday 22 August 2015, to discuss this question. In the seminar the researchers first discussed the issue of urban composition in a global context, arguing that, barring some exceptions, thus far too little attention has been paid to whether urbanisation happens through smaller secondary towns or through mega-cities. The researchers presented theoretical, cross-country and microempirical evidence to show that the way a country urbanises may be just as important as urbanisation itself.

The researchers also elaborated on their future research plans on the topic of urban composition and poverty. This includes further quantitative analysis, as well as an extensive round of qualitative work, funded by the IGC, which would collect 100 life histories from migrants in Tanzania to build a richer narrative around destination choice.

Downloads/resources