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Investigating the politics of crisis in African cities 
Sam Hickey (University of Manchester)
Tim Kelsall (ODI)
Diana Mitlin (University of Manchester)
Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai (University of Ghana Business School)
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Edith Morley 128
Thursday 29 June, -, -, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

Are African cities in perpetual crisis, through climate change, conflict-driven migration, precarious living conditions and the failure of urbanisation to drive economic transformation? New research shows how politics shapes the agency and governance required to address ‘crises’ in African cities.

Long Abstract:

African cities are frequently portrayed as being in crisis. Climate change threatens urban infrastructure and populations, Covid-19 had a disproportionate effect on urban areas, and people fleeing conflicts frequently settle in urban areas. The failure of most African cities to act as engines of structural transformation reflects a wider crisis of uneven development.

What forms of agency and governance are required to manage and move beyond such crises? This panel explores how politics and political economy factors shape how cities respond to crises. This includes the role of elites, national and city governments, various civil society actors and 'reform coalitions'. At least two sessions will be organised by the African Cities Research Consortium, including:

• 1/2 sessions using of ‘political settlements’ analysis to help advance our understanding of the scope for promoting urban reform in African cities (involving a comparative analysis plus select case-studies).

• 1/2 sessions on how both politics and city systems are shaping urban development challenges and solutions in specific policy domains, including: structural transformation; local economic development; land and connectivity; informal settlements; housing; health, nutrition and wellbeing; youth and capability development; safety and security.

• We welcome other papers that also use political/political economy analysis on the challenges facing African cities and on how politically feasible reforms aimed at tackling these challenges might emerge.

Our methodology will primarily involve paper-based sessions, with papers delivered and circulated in advance in most cases to enable our sessions to focus on discussions orchestrated by an active chair.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 29 June, 2023, -
Session 2 Thursday 29 June, 2023, -
Session 3 Thursday 29 June, 2023, -