As one of the fastest urbanizing regions in the world, Africa faces acute challenges that, although shared with other continents, have specificities and, consequently, must be handled with tailor-made solutions. The African Metropolitan Report responds to this endeavor by enclosing the analysis resulting from comparative research of 17 metropolitan spaces – where 18 Metropolis’ members operate – in the African continent. The consideration of local differences in culture and levels of development enables our members to gain a better understanding of their individual challenges in a near, but also broader, context. By doing so, the report, which uses the totality of each metropolitan space as the unit of analysis, brings new insights about urbanization, gentrification, and metropolisation in Africa, and offers a frame to include the much-needed metropolitan perspective in urban governance.
The publication is structured into five overarching themes, in line with the original theme division of the metropolitan indicators. Namely: context and governance, economic development, social cohesion, environmental sustainability and quality of life; all containing a gender mainstreaming section. The fact of it being regional, thus considering local differences in culture and levels of development, enables our members to gain a better understanding of their individual challenges in a near, but also broader, context.
This document is just one of the recent products of the Metropolis Observatory, a project focused on metropolitan analysis worldwide, which features pioneering comparative research on 58 metropolitan spaces (69 Metropolis members) by means of 38 metropolitan indicators, which today count with 2,789 data points (free to access here). The decision to analyze the metropolitan data in regional contexts comes from the understanding that worldwide comparisons may be biased.
Global agendas, such as the New Urban Agenda, have repeatedly stressed the importance of creating monitoring mechanisms and methodologies to gather and analyze data at the local level. “This report and the others to come, jointly with the set of metropolitan indicators that gave birth to it, represent the first step to shift data-gathering efforts towards metropolitan spaces which, although may be boundary-fluid, are where most of the people in the planet are carrying on with their lives”, said Octavi de la Varga, Metropolis Secretary General, during the UCLG Congress in Durban.