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Urbanization is one of the most crucial shifts underway in Africa with farreaching implications for the region’s transformation. While urban growth offers both opportunities and challenges, Africa’s urban transition has been largely unplanned and chaotic, accompanied by major infrastructure and service deficits, poverty, informality, unemployment, inequality, and low productivity. At the same time, however, urban areas are playing an increasingly important role in national and regional growth and transformation already generating the bulk of the region’s GDP. These emerging urban areas also offer a huge opportunity for targeted shifts in development and policy, which would provide benefits for a large section of the population.
The Regional Report for Africa for the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) reviews progress over the last 20 years related to housing and urban development while highlighting policy interventions and strategies to achieve sustainable urban development. The report shows that African countries have a unique window of opportunity to prioritize and enhance planned urban development to reverse the debilitating outcomes of current unplanned urban development. It also illustrates the potential of urbanization to drive inclusive and sustainable growth and transformation at all levels of the development in Africa.
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