We are pleased to introduce this new thematic issue of International Development Policy. This issue, number 10, explores some of the complex development challenges associated with Africa’s relatively recent and rapidly-progressing urbanisation. Analysing urban settings through the diverse experiences and perspectives of inhabitants and stakeholders in cities from Addis Ababa and Johannesburg to mid-sized cities such as the mining boomtowns of Eastern Congo, this collection of articles invites readers to ponder the evolution of international development policy responses across the region.
The contributions are organised in four parts. Part one includes an introduction by the guest editors, Carole Amman and Till Förster, and a scene-setting chapter by Edgar Pieterse. Part two looks at urban governance and is followed by chapters addressing policy, planning and informality in part three. The rural-urban continuum is explored in the fourth and final part. Sixteen authors and co-authors have contributed, several of whom are based in the Africa region itself, and all offering a rich variety of expertise and viewpoints drawing on anthropology, economics, geography, political science and sociology.
Articles in this issue were the subject of lively exchanges during the 7th European Conference on African Studies (ECAS), held in Basel in late June and early July 2017. The editors are grateful for the substantive comments of the anonymous reviewers and others who commented on earlier drafts.
Taken together, the articles challenge readers to reconsider the relationship between urbanisation in Africa and conventional development narratives, and make an important contribution to the existing literature. We hope this collection will resonate especially with new readers across the Africa region as well as among our regular readership of scholars and practioners, thanks to its timely and relevant focus on a region whose population is set to shift from predominantly rural to urban in just over a decade.
Basel, Bern and Geneva, July 2018