Kenya: the Africities summit points to the need to develop intermediary cities

View of the Plateau district in downtown Dakar, Senegal.

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In Kenya, in Kisumu in the west of the country, the Africities summit ended on Saturday 21 May.

For five days, 11,000 participants from across the continent discussed the role of intermediary cities in Africa's development.

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With our special correspondent in Kisumu,

Albane Thirouard

Synonymous with economic opportunities, intermediate cities attract many nationals from neighboring countries.

By 2040, two-thirds of people who will settle in urban areas will do so in medium-sized towns.

However, due to a lack of infrastructure, they remain cities of passage, before leaving for the capitals.

However, the latter are often already congested.

This is particularly the case for the city of Dakar.

With today more than one million inhabitants and three million for its region, the Senegalese capital has seen its population grow rapidly but the agglomeration is struggling to accommodate all its new entrants.

Mamadou Diop is the first deputy mayor of Djidda, Thiaroye Kao, in Pikine, on the edge of the capital: “ 

It is a very, very populated commune.

The density is very high there.

We have a land problem that does not allow us to maintain everyone because the population is growing very quickly and sometimes (this poses) a problem.

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Lack of space to properly house all the inhabitants or to build new schools, under-capacity care structures or even an informal occupation of urban spaces… the population explosion has strongly affected Dakar.

“ 

Dakar is not an intermediate city but Dakar suffers a little from the growths of these intermediate cities because there is rural exodus and people who leave their region to come to Dakar.

Intermediate cities must be developed so that large cities can breathe.

We must create jobs in these cities, we need infrastructure, industries, otherwise the big cities will always be the attraction of these populations

 ,” explains Abass Fall, the first deputy mayor of the capital.

Read also: Senegal: what will Dakar look like in 2035?

Prioritizing the development of medium-sized municipalities is in any case what the local elected officials committed to at the end of this ninth edition of Africities.

During an official ceremony on Saturday evening, the delegates present at Africities undertook to better include intermediate cities in their urban development plans, to emphasize youth (in particular through the establishment of a African Erasmus programme), but also on culture and climate protection and above all to ensure a better distribution of public resources in favor of medium-sized urban centres.

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