Preparing urban expansion plans for the next 30 years in Ethiopia, Uganda and Somalia.

Rural-to-urban migration is one of the key drivers of the rapid growth of secondary cities in the Horn of Africa, causing massive urban expansion. In the past 20 years, the urban population of developing countries has grown by 1.39 billion (70%), according to the UN. This rapid population translated during the same period into an almost four-fold increase in the built-up area of cities. However, much of this urban expansion was disorderly, lacking adequate infrastructure, and oblivious to environmental considerations. 


The effect of unplanned urban expansion is the uncontrolled creation of improvised dwellings in periheral urban areas


As part of its Cities and Migration Global Programme, Cities Alliance supports nine secondary cities in the Horn of Africa from Ethiopia, Uganda and Somalia in addressing rapid growth, attributed to rural to urban migration, through proactive participatory urban expansion planning. 

To integrate new rural migrants into the urban economy and society, governments must physically connect the places they are likely to settle in with the existing city. The simplest and most cost-effective way to connect the urban periphery to the existing city is for the municipal government to prepare a basic grid of arterial roads on the urban periphery before development gets there. These physical connections will create economic connections by shortening travel times for goods and people, driving the integration of informal areas and new urban migrants.  


Urban expansion Planning is key to manage rapid urbanisation


Cities will prepare for migration flows into the city using simple, tested approaches to planning for the next thirty years of growth, by securing land for a grid of arterial roads, mobilizing financial resources to support implementation, and identifying and protecting environmentally sensitive areas. 

The three-day workshops will bring together leaders and planning teams from the 9 cities as well as regional and national government and international experts to support the city teams in making basic urban expansion plans for the next thirty years of growth and in crafting an implementation plan. Workshops are held in Jinja (Uganda) from 9-11 March and Jigjiga (Ethiopia) from 15-17 March.