What it's about:
African cities must make use of vacant plots of land to tackle their rapid urban growth, a senior economist says.
Cities across Africa are faced with a population boom, but urban planning is lagging, writes Astrid Haas, economist at the International Growth Centre in Uganda, in article for City Lab.
In Harare, Zimbabwe, and Maputo, Mozambique 30 percent of land within three miles of the central business district remains unbuilt.
Unclear ownership and high interest rates contribute to urban land remaining vacant, Haas writes. African cities could follow the example of Bogota, Colombia, and implement a tax on vacant land that triples over a ten-year period, she argues.
Why it's noteworthy:
African capitals like Kampala in Uganda and Lagos in Nigeria are growing at an unprecedented rate, stretching power supplies and housing capacity to breaking point.
Nigeria's population is projected to swell from 198 to 411 million and Kampala’s population is projected to triple to 102 million by 2050.
It is essential that urban planning keeps up with this rapid growth and makes the most of prime land. Tackling the issue of vacant urban land is the first step to accommodating Africa’s vast urban sprawl, Haas argues.
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