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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Urban development in West Africa
Authors:James, V.U.ISNI
Nwomonoh, J.ISNI
Periodical:The African Review: A Journal of African Politics, Development and International Affairs
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic term:West Africa
Subjects:urban society
urban development
social environment
Abstract:The countries of West Africa are undergoing massive urban migration and rapid growth is the most readily apparent feature of West Africa's urbanization. Today's West African cities are quantitatively and qualitatively different from the cities which existed in preindustrial West Africa. The modern city has grown in response to the emergence of the market economy and the urban movement in West Africa does not appear to have been part of a total process of structural transformation. Urban growth is unevenly distributed, West African urban dwellers are highly mobile, and migrants maintain regular contact with their place of origin. The West African urban environment is characterized by high rates of unemployment, steadily increasing economic inequalities, demographic imbalances, cultural and linguistic heterogeneity, cessation of social control as exercised by the family and home community, leading to higher levels of delinquency and crime, and inadequate provision of social services, housing and educational facilities. In formulating population and development policies that can have an impact on trends in urban growth, national governments should bear in mind that urban development should be part and parcel of regional and national development. It must be decentralized. Employment opportunities must be increased. And, paradoxically, the ultimate solution to urban development problems lies in rural development and the stemming of rural-urban migration. Bibliogr.