Urban Food Systems Governance and Poverty in African Cities

As Africa urbanises and the focus of poverty shifts to urban centres, there is an imperative to address poverty in African cities. This is particularly the case in smaller cities, which are often the most rapidly urbanising, but the least able to cope with this growth. This book, a research output from the Consuming Urban Poverty project and edited by Jane Battersby and Vanessa Watson, argues that an examination of the food system and food security provides a valuable lens to interrogate urban poverty. Chapters examine the linkages between poverty, urban food systems and local governance with a focus on case studies from three smaller or secondary cities in Africa: Kisumu (Kenya), Kitwe (Zambia) and Epworth (Zimbabwe).

The book makes a wider contribution to debates on urban studies and urban governance in Africa through analysis of the causes and consequences of the paucity of urban-scale data for decision makers, and by presenting potential methodological innovations to address this paucity. As the global development agenda is increasingly focusing on urban issues, most notably the urban goal of the new Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda, the work is timely.

“This book is a game changer and should be compulsory reading for anyone concerned about the future of Africa,” says Bruce Frayne, University of Waterloo, Canada. “Battersby and Watson skillfully draw together the threads of urbanization, governance and food systems to weave a compelling argument for why food and nutrition are central to the future well-being of billions of urban Africans yet to be born. If you believe that Africa’s future is the rural life, read this book – it will change your mind!”

The e-book is available as an open access publication and can be downloaded free of charge here.