Keynote by H.E. Ato Mekuria Haile (Minister, Ministry of Urban Development, Housing and Construction, Ethiopia)

Presenter: H.E. Ato Mekuria Haile (Minister, Ministry of Urban Development, Housing and Construction, Ethiopia)

Average urbanisation rates in Sub-Saharan Africa are around 30%, but urbanisation rates continue to be driven by both population growth and changes in economic structures that draw more people into cities. It represents an opportunity, because it is a chance to promote a dynamic, self-sustaining urbanisation process that is an integral part of structural transformation in Africa. At the same time, it is a challenge because it demands attention and investment across multiple prongs (infrastructure for public utilities, health services, adequate decent housing, and access to quality education, recreational facilities, environmental protections, as well as developing rural and urban inter-linkages.

Urban development policy must also aim to strengthen the complementary inter-linkages between rural and urban environments, whilst continuing to sustainably manage revenues from natural resources. An effective urbanisation policy must strive to ensure balanced growth. This can be achieved through quality roads and rail infrastructure as well as improved connectivity among the cities. Additionally, H.E. Ato Mekuria urged that strengthening secondary cities was also important, particularly along transport corridors to expand development outside urban areas.

Summary written by Upaasna Kaul, Managing Editor & Hub Economist