The unprecedented population growth in Africa and its projections followed by a high rate of urbanization are resulting in a growing number of huge urban agglomerations – cities and megacities. That phenomenon creates opportunities for the continent, but it also raises concerns about low levels of development and diminished quality of life among the majority of urban residents. African cities are characterized by overcrowding, poor infrastructure, and limited connectivity to the international economic system. They are essentially underperforming as potential centres of creativity and innovation. This paper argues that despite these challenges, Africa’s emerging megacities can unleash their potential as drivers of economic transformation if they can be viewed and managed less as static administrative regions and more as dynamic innovation ecosystems rather than a collection of discrete geographical enclosures that encroach on each other and neighbouring regions without adequate urban planning.


Nawrot, Katarzyna A., Calestous Juma, and James Donald. "African Megacities as Emerging Innovation Ecosystems." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP17-031, August 2017.