RurbanAfrica project continued...

Analyses of secondary data, collection of empirical data and work package wise analyses have been undertaken with similar methodologies in all countries and facilitated comparisons as various levels. The RurbanAfrica research has developed insights into how rural-urban connections form social transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa. It was found that rural transformation as it develops in dynamic rural regions, as has been the focus of the empirical research, clearly interacts with urbanization and urban-based economies through e.g. urban-rural investments. This clearly interacts with increasingly multi-local livelihood arrangements, multi-directional migration flows and the formation of small urban centres (located in rural regions).

With a focus of the primary and a secondary city in each country it has been shown that urban growth is increasingly driven by natural growth rather than migration, meaning that rural-urban connections are less tangible and unidirectional than popular assumptions prescribe. However, generally secondary cities have more direct demographic and economic connections with rural hinterland regions than primate cities, but this vary, depending on e.g. matters such as the size and growth of the city, their ordained roles in the national planning system, and in servicing agricultural/resource value chains. These insights relate to the availability and appraisals of services such as water, sanitation, electricity, transport and mobile telephony which shall not only serve the low-income areas often located in the centre of the cities, but also the periphery of the cities where relocation for homeownership purposes of people and families from the centre of the city dominates.

It is concluded that even though research documents how urbanization dynamics and rural transformations are intimately linked these complex links are poorly mirrored in governance and planning at national and local levels, which continues to be dominated by sectoral policies that leaves ’rural-urban linkages’ to remain a policy grey area. Thus, the RurbanAfrica research has accentuated the need for a new governance architecture and insights from each case study and across case country comparisons should impact current (global) policy debates on territorial development, sustainable housing and urbanization, and UNs new Sustainable Development Goals.