In a recent opinion piece for CapX, Brandon Fuller outlines principles for expanding opportunities for then urban poor in low and middile-income countries.
UN projections suggest that the world’s urban population will reach 6.3 billion by 2050, up 2.7 billion from the roughly 3.6 billion people living in cities as of 2010.
The vast majority of these new urban residents – over 90 per cent – will be added to the cities of low- and middle- income countries – such as Ethiopia, Tanzania, China, and India.
All of this urbanisation should be good for global poverty reduction. Historically, countries grow more prosperous as they urbanise.
But the link between urbanisation and prosperity is not preordained. For governments wishing to harness the poverty-fighting potential of cities, a critical first step is avoiding or removing policies that exclude the poor from formal participation in urban life.
The government’s job in rapidly urbanizing countries is to complement the tremendous agency of the urban poor; not to work against their interests. In many countries the reality falls some way short of this ideal. Here are some ways governments could lower barriers to opportunity for the urban poor.