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close this bookSustaining the Future: Economic, Social, and Environmental Change in Sub-Saharan Africa (UNU, 1996, 365 pages)
close this folderPart 1: Economy and society: development issues
close this folderUrbanization and industrialization: What future for Sub-Saharan Africa?
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe continuing rapid rate and scale of urbanization
View the documentThe urban environment
View the documentThe limitations of industrialization
View the documentThe impact of structural adjustment
View the documentSub-Saharan Africa as the global periphery
View the documentImplications for urbanization and industrialization
View the documentReferences

Introduction

It is inevitably impossible within the scope of a short paper to do justice to the diversity of urban conditions in the 46 countries 1 comprising Sub-Saharan Africa. For this the reader is referred to the several comprehensive accounts that are available (e.g. O'Connor 1983, 1991; Gilbert and Gugler 1992; Simon 1992). Only a brief summary of the five most salient recent trends and issues is given here. Many recent urban and economic studies have focused upon tropical Africa rather than Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. South Africa, Namibia, and the BLS countries (i.e. Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland) have thus unfortunately been excluded, as if they formed a distinct and discrete subregion. This is difficult to defend. South Africa, in particular, is vital, given its historically pivotal role in southern and central Africa, its status as Sub-Saharan Africa's most highly urbanized and industrialized country, and the current implications of this as its economic and political relations with the rest of the Sub-Saharan countries mushroom even before the formal demise of white minority rule.