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African Geographical Review
Volume 29, December 2010


Research Article

‘Abnormal’ Urbanization in Africa:  A Dissenting View

Franklin Obeng-Odoom

Africa continues to urbanize but the so called ‘urbanization-development- nexus’ debate remains unsettled. Is urbanization correlated with economic development in Africa? Some argue that, although urbanization is positively correlated with economic development in Europe and elsewhere, Africa’s urbanization is parasitic and not conducive to economic development. Others contend that there is nothing abnormal about urbanization in Africa. This paper finds evidence in support of the latter view in the case of Ghana where qualitative evidence suggests that urbanization is strongly correlated with economic development. It discusses the reasons and implications of this positive correlation, including the potentially beneficial effects for both urban and rural economies in Ghana.

Key words: urbanization, Africa, economic development, Ghana, poverty