Monday Morning Musing: Bridging the Urban divide
Today BBC released a story on recent research that indicates that the economic gap between cities and rural areas is widening.
The story is focused on the UK but the reality is that this is a global phenomenon.
By 2050, almost 62% of the world will live in cities, says the UN-HABITAT.
This is not only going to dramatically change the global social dynamics, (city dwellers are predominantly more liberal-minded than rural populations) but it also has economic implications.
Let’s take South Africa, which is one of the worlds top 3 most unequal societies in the world. The Gauteng province constitutes only 1.4% of South Africa’s land area and yet constitutes over 33% of the entire countries GDP, and 10% of the GDP entire continent of Africa! Despite it’s tiny size, it is one of the most densely populated provinces with Pretoria, and greater Johannesburg constituting most of it’s 11.2 million people.
The gap between Gauteng and the rest of the country (not to mention continent), is a perfect example of the increasing trend towards mega-cities around the developing world. Managing one’s economy so that growth and wealth are not so concentrated is going to be a critical to South Africa’s ability to grow in a sustainable way.
With xenophobia in the townships linked to tension over lack of jobs and economic opportunities, and increasing frustration over taxes among the countries wealthy elites, creating job opportunities in the rural areas might be one of the best ways South Africa’s government can tackle the host of socio-economic problems facing this country.
And that’s your Monday Morning Musing. Have a great week everyone.