Neighbourhood and district economic development

The majority of African urban residents live and work in informal settlements, engaged in small-scale, often home-based economic activities. Earnings from these activities are typically low and precarious, with informal moneylenders providing vital services to residents, but usually on exploitative terms.

Some residents work beyond their neighbourhood, through their own microenterprises or employed by larger businesses, which tend to be more stable, regularised and with better established markets. However, due to unreliable infrastructure services and limited benefits of co-location in African cities, there are few such firms, so their contribution to poverty reduction and structural transformation is limited.

Looking through ACRC’s political economy lens, neighbourhood and district economic development reflects the distribution of economic and land rent in the local economy. City systems need to be mobilised so that enterprises can function smoothly. The living standards of the urban poor in these neighbourhoods could therefore be improved by strengthening city economies, generating “decent work” opportunities and boosting entrepreneurial skills. This involves a wide range of key actors, including  economic development agencies, business/trade associations, informal business networks, trade unions and other labour organisations, and local politicians.

Within the neighbourhood and district economic development domain, we are initially focusing on the following cities:

LATEST NEWS from ACRC

Addressing the drivers of urban insecurity

Addressing the drivers of urban insecurity

Many residents of African cities are vulnerable to widespread manifestations of violence, including crime, political and ethnically motivated intimidation, and threats to property, both housing and land rights. These residents thus feel insecure, due to the risk of personal and communal harm and loss or damage to property.

read more
Postdoc Profile: Matthew Sharp

Postdoc Profile: Matthew Sharp

Matthew Sharp talks about his research background, his interest in zoning regulations and land use policies, and the importance of economics within urban planning.

read more
Youth empowerment and development in African cities

Youth empowerment and development in African cities

Young people are central to the opportunities, challenges and crises facing African cities. With 70% of sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 30, urban youth is set to play a potentially game-changing role in development outcomes across African cities in the coming decades.

read more