Working Papers

Africa's Urbanization: Challenges and Opportunities

Africa is urbanizing fast. Its rate of urbanization soared from 15 percent in 1960 to 40 percent in 2010, and is projected to reach 60 percent in 2050 (UN Habitat 2010). Urban populations in Africa are expected to triple in the next 50 years, changing the profile of the region, and challenging policy makers to harness urbanization for sustainable and inclusive growth. Although many have written about the phenomena, what is clear to us is that is impossible to deal with Africa’s growth and poverty challenges without managing urbanization.

Growth Strategies for Africa in a Changing Global Environment

The purpose of this paper is to sketch a strategy for African late  starters. It identifies the key objectives and the mix of policy initiatives  appropriate for a post‐financial‐crisis environment where South‐South  trade and capital flows are taking on a greater salience.

Will Cities Continue Driving Economic Growth?

Archaeological evidence suggests that cities as recognizable entities arose in the Fertile Crescent between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers around 3,200 BCE—some 10,000 years after the domestication of rye (and other grains later), and 5,000 years after the emergence of village communities that prioritized intensive agriculture over hunting and gathering. Shortly thereafter, or perhaps simultaneously, cities appeare in China and in Mesoamerica. The spread of intensive agriculture enabled cities to multiply and flourish.

Urbanization and Green Growth in Africa

The paper addresses the issues of urbanization and green growth in Africa from the perspective of what it would take for African cities and countries to accommodate the upcoming urban explosion without the usual negative impact on the physical environment, and using it as an opportunity for innovative and green growth. The paper is organized in four parts. Part I reviews the performance of the African region, economic growth, urban expansion and the characteristics of the urbanization process. Part II suggests a framework to discuss green growth at city level.

Growth Policy and the State

In this paper Professor Philippe Aghion of Harvard University argues the importance of the state governance. It is not so much a reduced state that we need to foster economic growth in our countries, but a strategic state. The strategic state would target its investments to maximize growth in the face of hard budget constraints. This course departs both from the Keynesian view of a state sustaining growth through demand-driven policies and from the neo-liberal view of a minimal state confined to its regalian functions.

Growth Economics and Policies

The purpose of this paper is to study how thinking on growth has evolved since the 1950s through the interplay of international politics, country-level experience, and theorizing almost exclusively conducted in Western countries. The paper reflects on how this body of thinking has diffused through a variety of channels and influenced policies in virtually all developing countries.