African cities yet to tap into revenue opportunities offered by rapid urbanization

Most Liveable African Cities
Most Liveable African Cities

African cities are yet to tap into revenue opportunities offered by rapid urbanization, a new UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) report revealed on Thursday.

The “State of Urbanization in Africa: The Role of Cities in Domestic Resource Mobilization Report,” which was published by the ECA on Thursday mainly urged African countries to look critically into the major aspects of urban productivity and the revenue potential of cities, as well as the potential of urban investments for economic transformation.

“African cities are yet to tap into revenue opportunities that rapid urbanization offers and proposes a framework for consideration which focuses on cities as drives of domestic resource mobilization,” according to the report.

The report, which emphasized that African cities are generating a large share of GDP and are home to the manufacturing and services sectors that are leading structural transformation, however, urged the African continent to effectively exploit the potential of cities, with particular emphasis to the abundant economic potential of the current rapid urbanization.

The report also stated that “urban-based tradable economic sectors can provide a broad, stable and growing tax base in Africa.”

Edlam Abera Yemeru, Chief of the Urbanization Section at the ECA, said during the report launching event at the ECA headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa that “we hope that this report will raise issues that member states can question, interrogate and adopt as policy options or good practices when they are embarking on domestic resource mobilization for their development processes.”

“As Africa strives to leverage the urbanization process for development, where economic growth is expected to lead to job creation and decent work, where we can witness an increase in productive cities and innovation and more urban investments such as effective public transportation among others,” Yemeru said.

The ECA official also urged African experts and policymakers who have gathered to review the report to “provide the critical thinking aspects behind the role of cities in domestic resource mobilization and Financing for Development in Africa.”

“We hope that by the end of the review meeting we will be able to shape the report in a way that member states can leverage the roles of cities to realize their productivity and revenue potential and that beyond the experiences and good practices,” Yemeru said.

The experts and policymakers are also expected to unpack the report, evaluate the contribution of African cities to domestic resource mobilization towards financing Agendas 2030 and 2063 and the New Urban Agenda, it was noted.

The experts are expected to validate the practical policy options highlighted in the report which can help member States improve the socio-economic performance of African cities, through revenue generation. Enditem

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