News & Insights

Cardno project Analysis Report and Call to Action published by UNICEF and UN-Habitat

A flagship analysis report has been published by UNICEF and UN-Habitat, produced from an ongoing Cardno project entitled: Analysis of Multiple Deprivations in Secondary Cities in Sub-Saharan Africa

The objective of this project is to make cities and towns more liveable and improve the quality of life for African urban dwellers through stimulating dialogues, advocacy and action. The newly published report is on the existing situations in secondary towns and cities in Sub-Saharan Africa, and was presented at the World Urban Forum in earlier this year in February.

UNICEF and UN-Habitat project reports
The findings serve as a Call to Action for African leaders and other relevant stakeholders to strengthen programming and service provision in Sub-Saharan Africa’s secondary cities and work towards solving a number of key challenges/deprivations in these cities.

To get an overview of this analysis, we spoke with Isaacnezer K. Njuguna, Co-Author of the Report, Urban Planner and Project Manager

On how well the report was received by the World Urban Forum

The report received general positive feedback, with city leaders and stakeholders in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond widely agreeing to the challenges of urbanisation, deprivations due to city primacy, and the huge potential of secondary cities in providing sustainable solutions to urbanisation challenges.

Notably, Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o, the Governor of Kisumu City, a secondary city in Kenya, agreed to the evidence provided by the report, and supported the need for paradigm shift to secondary cities as frontiers of sustainable social, economic and spatial urban growth and development, noting that Kisumu City was planning initiatives to achieve sustainable development.

On some of the areas of the report that will prove key to future dialogue

Children and Youth Are Key to Sustainability in Sub-Saharan Africa. Key to the presentation at the World Urban Forum was the fact that Sub-Saharan Africa has the youngest population amongst all the regions in the World, thus, sustainable development of cities in the region would benefit from children and youth centred initiatives.

Leveraging on this demographic trend will be an interesting dialogue, on current and future urban and city sustainability in the region.

Also what’s interesting is the notion that Secondary Cities are no longer second fiddle, or an afterthought. The report provides evidence that much of the urban growth in Sub-Saharan Africa takes place in secondary cities, but in contrast to primary cities, they have high levels of deprivation in key areas such as income and employment, housing, WASH [Water, Sanitation and Hygiene] and health. With projections providing evidence of much growth in secondary cities in future, city leaders in the region need to be ahead of this curve.

Notably, dialogues at Cardno’s BEAT IT! Conference in September 2019 centred on secondary cities in East Africa region, and highlights from key note speeches and discussions all indicated to the growing influence of secondary cities as sustainable frontiers of urban development.

On what kinds of future projects we’re likely to see as a result of the report

Evidence and action research on potentials of secondary cities, including assessments of secondary cities for provision of key socio-economic and infrastructural developments. Further, capacity building and institutional development in secondary cities in the region can be expected.