A report by African Economic Outlook (AEO) says urbanisation can help to advance economic development through higher agricultural productivity, industrialisation, services and foreign direct investment in urban corridors.
This is contained in a statement signed by African Development Bank Nigeria Country Office’s Senor Communications Officer, Mrs Fatimah Abubakar-Alkali, on Tuesday in Abuja.
The statement stated that the 2016 African AEO was launched by the Nigeria Country Office, AfDB at an outreach at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria,Kaduna State with the theme “Sustainable cities and structural transformation.
It stated that the AEO report looked closely at Africa’s distinctive pathways towards urbanisation and how this was increasingly shifting economic resources towards more productive activities.
According to the statement, the Lead Economist, AfDB, Mr Barbara Barungi, said Africa’s economic performance had been steady but was expected to remain moderate in 2015, strengthen in 2016 against the backdrop of a fragile global economy.
It stated that the report said the African continent remained the second fastest growing economic region after East Asia.
It said the continent’s average growth was expected at 3.7 per cent in 2016 and would pick up to 4.5 per cent in 2017 provided the world economy strengthened and commodity prices gradually recovered.
“Urbanisation is a mega trend that is transforming African societies. This is not accompanied by structural transformation and industrialisation which remains rather slow.
“Urbanisation can help advance economic development through higher agricultural productivity, industrialisation, services and foreign direct investment in urban corridors if harnessed by adequate urban planning policies.
“Nigeria has had sluggish economic growth since the end of 2015 which stood at 2.8 per cent and the economy had contracted further by 0.36 per cent in the first quarter of 2016,’’ statement said.
It stated that the policy reforms of the new administration were highlighted in the country and include strong fiscal policy, improvements in public sector transparency and accountability as well as adoption of a more flexible exchange rate.
It added that Nigeria had been rapidly urbanising and fast-growing cities such as Lagos and Kano faced increasing unemployment and income inequality because of poor urban planning and weak links between structural transformation and urbanisation.
The Country Director AfDB, Dr Ousmane Dore, emphasised the importance of the report that it had significantly informed policy dialogue that fed into the design of bank projects to support government priorities.
AEO is produced annually by AfDB, OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The statement added that the AEO report covered all 54 African countries with individual country notes and corresponding statistical annexes.