Many residents of African cities are vulnerable to widespread crime and violence. Perceived and real threats of violence or exposure to crime can limit mobility – particularly for women and girls, children and minority groups – with a knock-on effect on education, livelihoods and general wellbeing.

Notably, in conflict-affected African states, violence, armed insurgency and terrorism might unfold in cities or generate an exodus of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) into urban areas. Crime, violence and conflict undermine economic growth and deepen mistrust of governance, security and justice institutions – frequently leading to vigilante organisations and “street justice”.

Enhancing safety and security in African cities requires pulling together various city systems, such as transport, road networks, policing, land ownership, water and sanitation, and electricity. ACRC will analyse the interplay of these systems – along with how the political economy of safety and security is reflected within city power dynamics – to identify measures that reduce violence and crime, and address the perception and fear of harm. We will also explore conflict resolution and how the integration of IDPs can be better facilitated within conflict-affected states.

Within the safety and security domain, we are focusing on the following cities: