Housing Challenges and Opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa

Resource Library | Author Stephen Giddings | Date July 2007

Sub-Saharan Africa is undergoing profound demographic changes. People are moving to the cities at unprecedented rates, and Africa will be more urban than rural by 2030. African cities will have to accommodate more than 300 million new residents over the next 25 years. Urbanization in Africa, unlike in other regions of the world, has not reduced overall poverty. In African cities and towns, poverty rates have actually increased and in several of the region’s most populous countries urban poverty rates are now close to those in rural areas. Efforts to reduce overall poverty must therefore increasingly focus on urban, not rural, areas. Housing is a key component of urban development. Improved housing is not only a desirable goal in its own right, but it also contributes to economic growth, social development, improved governance and enhanced security and stability. Already, between 75% and 99% of urban residents in many African cities live in squalid slums of ramshackle housing.



Header photo attribution to the World Bank.