A growing city, challenging housing options

Owning a home is a reality for only a few in Accra. For most, even long-time residents, renting is the only option. The city’s housing market is like a pyramid: At its apex, a small international set – many of whom have lived or currently live abroad – own the most expensive residences. Moving down, […]

The changing and challenging face of African capital cities

(21 October 2012, Johannesburg­) – The challenge posed to capital cities is clear: Given a small and sometimes shrinking municipal fiscal base, and existing service backlog, how is it possible to fashion viable urban policies and delivery for a growing number of new urban residents? That is according to Professor Simon Bekker, co-editor with Göran […]

Zango: plans unravel

Since 2001, Angola has engaged in large-scale rehousing efforts across Luanda. As the redevelopment of the capital proceeds, more and more residents who have built in “high-risk” areas – alongside roads that need to be widened or on areas demarcated for new projects ­– have been moved to various “social housing” areas: Panguila, Sapú, Projecto […]

On its path to liveability, Accra explores new transport options

For the average commuter, Accra is choked by bottlenecks and traffic congestion. The city’s commercial activity attracts two-thirds of commuters to the CBD, but the ineffective transport system stifles accessibility, productivity and liveability. The city’s longstanding transportation planning bias toward cars is catching up with the growing city. An estimated 70 percent of commuters get […]

Transport routing the spine of city culture

Johannesburg, 3 December 2012 — Our guide looks like an air hostess of the future. She wears a golden cape with a high-necked collar over a white shirt, dark knee-length pencil skirt and flat white shoes with red socks. She grasps a compacted white umbrella in her hand and makes her appeal: “Please, everyone, just […]

Concrete politics

Luanda, Angola’s capital, could easily be mistaken for an enormous construction site. Since the end of the civil war (1975 to 2002), the city’s oil-fuelled building boom has attracted investors from all parts of the world. As an everyday experience the result is dust, traffic, and uncertainty. Many reports marvel at the high-rises and mass […]

Is informality being disallowed by government?

South Africa’s economic policymakers have to confront the challenge of creating jobs to absorb the unemployed. The 2011 census reveals an unemployment rate of 40%, with over 8.7 million South Africans registered as unemployed. One of the main strategies to address this challenge is focused on stimulating labour absorption by enhancing the education and skills […]

How Cairo moves around the city

Cairo’s traffic is often portrayed as a reflection of Egyptian society. The street life has transformed dramatically over the course of the past several decades due to the widening gap between rich and poor and the government’s timid policies on public transportation. While only 15 percent of Cairo’s population own private cars, the city functions […]

Hope in troubled waters: Developing water transport infrastructure in Lagos

In West Africa’s most urbanized city, many experience that while “water no get enemy”, it certainly does pick and choose its friends. These words are part of the lyrical heritage bequeath by the late world-renowned Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, whose rally cries against military rule, corruption and colonialism resonate with his Lagosian kinsmen decades on. […]

Who’s driving Accra’s future?

Despite its growing economy, Accra’s local government has struggled to finance the planning and management of its housing and infrastructure needs, which has pushed national government to turn to private sector-facilitated development. New hotels, office buildings and commercial high-rises are cropping up in the city, particularly in high-end and commercially attractive areas, including around the […]