Africa city leaders must also think about specialisation, why people will be drawn to their cities, what the city will produce and what its function will be both regionally and globally.We also see increased competition between cities for talent, investment and firms.Solving it will require real innovation, particularly in new models for land administration and property markets.Some cities are beginning to address the challenge in novel ways.
For example, templating growth via a well-planned urban hierarchies of cities and efficient deployment of key infrastructure to support this is essential.
As a result, the growth of the ‘Next 10’ large cities in Sub-Saharan Africa represents a major opportunity for business.
However, these benefits are not automatic and poor infrastructure could derail the pace at which these cities grow and prosper.
For example, the rise of China’s middle class – a distinctly urban phenomenon that has lifted 500 million people out of poverty in less than 30 years – is testament to the power cities uniquely possess to elevate living standards.
Developing countries can capture an urbanisation ‘dividend’ that creates jobs, raises productivity, reduces infrastructure costs and environmental impact, supports new enterprise and shares this prosperity widely.
Increasingly, the ability to compete depends on much more than simply creating an attractive regulatory or fiscal environment to attract inward investment.