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Accepted Paper:

Growing pains: Contentious urbanization in Africa’s emerging cities  
Jeffrey Paller (University of Gothenburg)

Paper short abstract:

What explains political and institutional development in Africa's emerging cities? This paper argues that center-periphery relations, chieftaincy affairs, natural resource endowments, and electoral competition shape these outcomes in small cities in Ghana and across the continent.

Paper long abstract:

Most scholarly attention on Africa’s rapid urbanization focuses on its large cities, yet most of the population growth is actually occurring in its smaller cities and towns (UN DESA 2015). Secondary cities face an especially difficult challenge because of their narrow economic base, low levels of human capital, and insufficient local government revenues. This chapter is part of a book manuscript on the contentious politics of African urbanization, which asks why some populations benefit from urban growth while others are left behind. The book argues that local political connections between community members and politicians through clientelist ties or democratic representation explain why some populations secure rights, remain in place, and improve their livelihoods. In addition, claims of belonging tied to land ownership and first-comer status provide the key mechanism through which populations participate in collective action. In Africa’s emerging cities, four factors shape these outcomes: center-periphery relations, chieftaincy affairs, natural resource endowments, and electoral competition. The chapter draws from the cross-national African Cities Dataset, a paired case-comparison of small cities in Ghana, and shadow cases from across the continent.

Panel Urba16
Africa's urban futures and positionalities towards Global Urban Policies
  Session 2 Friday 2 June, 2023, -