The Global Development Institute is pleased to host Edgar Pieterse as part of the GDI Lecture Series, talking about: Ambitious and ambiguous public investments in African cities
Urban governance in most African cities is marked by weak regulatory enablement by national governments, limited autonomous fiscal resources, limited managerial capacity, overlaid by distortionary politics—read a combination of clientelism, patronage, corruption, etcetera. At least, this is the conclusion one arrives at by reading most of the academic literature on the topic. However, in contradistinction, over the last decade or so, there has been a proliferation of ambitious planning and delivery, of especially, mega infrastructural projects. These developments coincide with the proliferation of mainstream incantations of “Africa rising” and other boosterism discourses. It raises important questions about how this level of institutional efficacy could be possible if the literature is accurate. In this talk I aim to report on the findings of a research project on so-called turn-around African cities. We set out to document how noteworthy urban mega projects came onto the agenda, were implemented, often effectively, and what the possible effects might be. The idea is to offer a set of empirical reflections, drawing on six African cities, to get a more refined understanding of contemporary urban planning and governance dynamics in rapidly changing and conflictual contexts.
The Global Development Lecture Series brings experts involved in global development to The University of Manchester. It aims to facilitate dialogue and discussion, providing a space for leading development thinkers to share their latest research and ideas. Lectures are followed by an audience Q&A.
This event is open to members of the public and information on the accessibility of the venue is detailed at this link: https://www.accessable.co.uk/venues/roscoe_th-b