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The Sustainability of Urbanization in Africa’s Great Lakes Region: Trends and Policies Options

  • Remy Sietchiping
  • Claude Ngomsi
  • Michael Kinyanjui
  • John Omwamba
  • Elkin Velasquez
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Geographical and Environmental Sciences book series (AGES)

Abstract

Urban transition from 2014 to 2050 around the world would not be at the same rate and stage if the current situation remains constant. The 2014 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs report underscores that East African countries are among the least urbanized and are most likely to keep their position in 2050. Urban population in the region is unevenly distributed between and within countries. For example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, urban population is concentrated in the eastern territories close to the countries of the East African Community. This paper analyzes the conditions for sustainable urban transition in the East African Community within the Great Lakes region. Reviewing pertinent urban literature and recent urban policy and development discourses, the paper highlights the need for an effective and pragmatic political commitment at national level and fair engagement of private investors and individuals to create an enabling environment for urbanization that will be beneficial to the current and future generations. Developing and implementing national urban policy would be one of the clear indications for the commitment for managing urban transition in the region. In doing so, we identify some key entry points and quick wins such as the development of public spaces and efficient transportation network (railways, airways, and transnational road transportation). We further argue that to achieve sustainable urbanization in the region, there should be a clear, flexible monitoring framework between taxpayers and institutions for the formulation of urban development vision to ensure inclusive urban transition, incremental industrialization of economies with a focus on countries’ specialization (division of labor), and management of proactive social and environmental investments for the benefit of all.

Keywords

African Great Lakes region Urban corridors Urban policy Conflicts Urban systems 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Remy Sietchiping
    • 1
  • Claude Ngomsi
    • 1
  • Michael Kinyanjui
    • 1
  • John Omwamba
    • 1
  • Elkin Velasquez
    • 2
  1. 1.UN HabitatNairobiKenya
  2. 2.Regional Office of UN-Habitat for Latin America and the CaribbeanUnited Nations HabitatRio de JaneiroBrazil

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