Leadership & Management

Urbanization in Africa: Defense Sector Considerations

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This paper summarizes key components of urbanization in Africa and offers U.S. Africa Command senior leadership points to frame responses to urbanization. The paper locates urbanization within the U.S. Africa Command mission and highlights a few
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  UNCLASSIFIED 1 Urbanization in Africa: Scope, Relevance, and U.S. Africa Command This paper summarizes key components of urbanization in Africa and offers U.S. Africa Command senior leadership points to frame responses to urbanization 1 . The paper locates urbanization within the U.S. Africa Command mission and highlights sociocultural considerations to address urbanization in Africa 2 . Urbanization and Africa Approximately 54 percent of the world population lives in urban areas. Africa currently remains primarily rural, with only 40 percent of its inhabitants living in urban areas. Urban growth percentages are however shifting and by 2050 population growth in urban centers in Africa is expected to eclipse rural growth rates. Africa is poised to be a leader in urban population center growth. Approximately 56 percent of the increase in world urban population growth between 2014 and 2050 is expected to occur in Africa. 3  Urban populations are expected to significantly increase in nine countries in Africa: Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Each of these countries is projected to contribute a minimum of 50 million people to urban population growth between 2014 and 2050. Nigeria will contribute an estimated 212 million to urban population growth during the same time frame. 4  African Megacities The growth of megacities (cities with 10 million or more inhabitants) is a popular topic. The sheer number of people and the complexity of megacities are important considerations in urban trend analysis and for defense sector leaders. There are 3 megacities in Africa; Cairo (Egypt), Lagos (Nigeria), and Kinshasa (DRC) and it is estimated that by 2030 Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Johannesburg (South Africa), and Luanda (Angola) will increase the number of megacities from 3 to 6. 5  Notwithstanding the complexity and size of megacities, approximately 90% of growth in urban areas in Africa is occurring in medium-sized cities with populations of between 500,000 to 1 million inhabitants. It is important for defense sector leaders to prepare to operate in megacities in response to given crises (when directed), but to remain attentive to the dynamics in fast growing medium sized urban centers and also rapidly growing small cities, with fewer than 500,000 1  Urbanization is a phenomenon that involves a shift from agricultural to urban cultural forms that impact economic, social and cultural forms and habits. See Alan Gilbert’s Urbanization and Security paper  . Available for download at http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/urban_rpt.pdf .  2  Sociocultural refers to beliefs, ways of understanding, meaning making, and habits that shape various approaches and interpretations of the phenomenon of urbanization in Africa. In the context of urban growth in Africa this refers to considerations such as cultural assumptions and inclusion. 3   Myers, G. (2011). Why Africa’s Cities Matter. African Geographical Review. 30 (1). pp. 101-106. Abstract available at http://www.macalester.edu/geography/agr/agr_abstracts/Vol30/Myers_Reflection.pdf .  4  For more on these statistics see http://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/Highlights/WUP2014-Highlights.pdf  . 5  The number of megacities expected to emerge in Africa between 2030 and 2050 is estimated to be 6 to 9.  UNCLASSIFIED 2 inhabitants. 6  Smaller cities experiencing growth can experience even greater problems because they often lag behind their larger counterparts in institutional and capacity development. Figure 1 Growth Patterns in African Cities 7   Urbanization and U.S. Africa Command U.S. Africa Command is a geographically focused defense sector entity responsible for a diverse mission that includes deterring threats, preventing conflicts, responding to crises, advancing U.S. interests, and promoting security and stability in Africa through partnerships and engagements. The phenomena of urbanization and its corollary effects intersect with the command mission to highlight engagement opportunities and challenges. Urbanization, Fragility, and Threat Criminal activity, violence, the proliferation of informal housing (slums), food, ecological, health, economic and infrastructure disparities, and deficits are common topics associated with unplanned urban growth. 8  These indicators are not a rationale for U.S. Africa command intervention but are noteworthy because of the command ’s  focus on deterring threats, promoting stability, and 6  See McGranahan, G. and Satterthwaite, D. (2014). Urbanisation concepts and trends. International Institute for Environment and Development. Working Paper, London. 7  Map courtesy of the U.S. Africa Command J22 Analysis and Production directorate. 8  The negative consequences referenced here may or may not be proven through studies but these constructs have been historically and perceptually linked to urban growth.  UNCLASSIFIED 3 deterring and eradicating terrorism. This segment of the paper explores the nexus between country ranking indices (fragile states and terrorist activity) and urban growth in Africa. 9  Table 1 presents ranking data for African countries based on high urban growth projections, fragility, and terrorist activity. Half the countries predicted to have high urban population growth are ranked in the top 20 on the fragile state index. 10  Two countries, DRC and Sudan are included in the top 10 list as the most fragile states in the world. Current and emerging African megacities, with the exception of Johannesburg (South Africa), are in the top 50 th  percentile, per the fragile state rankings. Fragility rankings and urbanization rates, coupled with 2014 global terrorist index (GTI) data, provide additional information that can inform an assessment of instability and terrorist threat. 11  According to GTI ranking data, countries predicted to have high urban growth rates are in the top 50th percentile of countries experiencing the negative impacts of terrorist activity, with Angola being the exception. Angola is not ranked high for terrorist activity but GTI report commentary notes it will join Ethiopia and Uganda as countries at risk for near term increases in terrorist activity. Table 1 Growth, Fragility and Terrorist Activity Rankings Nine Countries Predicted to Have High Urban Population Growth Rates (2014 to 2050) Fragile State Index 2014 Rankings (out of 178 countries) 2014 Global Terrorist Index Rankings (out of 124 countries) 1 Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) 4 18 2 Sudan 5 19 3 Nigeria 17 4 4 Kenya 18 12 5 Ethiopia 19 42 6 Uganda 22 52 7 Egypt 31 13 8 Angola 43 95 9 Tanzania 65 41 9   For sources and criteria included for ranking data see, Thesee, The United Nations 2014 World Urbanization Prospect Revision report http://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/Highlights/WUP2014-Highlights.pdf  , the 2014 Fragile States Index ranking. Available for download at http://ffp.statesindex.org/  .  and the 2014 Global Terrorist Index http://www.visionofhumanity.org/sites/default/files/Global%20Terrorism%20Index%20Report%202014_0.pdf  .  11  The 2014 GTI defines terrorist incidents as follows. 1. must be intentional, theintentional, the result of conscious calculation on the part of a perpetrator. 2. The incident must entail some level of violence or threat of violence, including property violence, as well as violence against people and 3. perpetrators of incidents must be sub-national actors not state sponsored terrorism. The full report is available for download http://www.visionofhumanity.org/sites/default/files/Global%20Terrorism%20Index%20Report%202014_0.pdf    UNCLASSIFIED 4 U.S. Defense Sector Preparedness U.S. Africa Command leadership and diverse defense sector actors recognize the significance of urban growth. General David Rodriguez, U.S. Africa Commander, referenced Africa’s growing population in a presentation to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. His comments allude to strategic opportunities associated with population growth.  Africa is on the rise and will be increasingly important to the United States in the  future. With six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies, a population of 1 billion that will double by 2050, and the largest regional voting bloc in multilateral organizations, Africa’s global influence and importance to the national interests of the Unites States and our allies are significant and growing. 12   The joint urban operation (JUO) publication 3-06 provides doctrine to guide U.S. forces engaged in urban zones. The JUO, updated in 2013, focuses primarily on operational and tactical readiness. General Raymond Odierno, the 38 th  Chief of Staff of the Army, commissioned a study, published June 2014, titled  Megacities and the United States Army: Preparing for a Complex and Uncertain Future . The report references the JUO and singles out megacities as the unit of analysis. The report’s core commentary and recommendations apply to many urban zones. The report examines critical gaps in how to operate in large urban cities. The study findings note, (1) megacities are not the focus of analysis for department of defense (DOD) studies and intelligence collection nor are they featured in planning scenarios. (2) The JUO assumes large cities can be isolated and shaped as a precursor to ground maneuvers. The report notes this is a flawed assumption given the realities and complexity of cities with 10 million or more inhabitants. (3) Command supported shaping and engagement activities do not specifically target and prepare U.S. forces to increase operational proficiency in megacities. The report offers a typology for understanding megacities and recommends U.S. forces prepare for the challenges presented by megacities. 13  Urbanization, Partnerships, and Engagement U.S. Africa command activities extend beyond combat operations. Significant resources support military-to-military engagements, programs, exercises, and key leader engagements conducted in collaboration with diverse partners. Non combat activities create opportunities to advance ideas, promote U.S. interests and learn from partners. Engagements are ideal places to discuss 12  Comments made by General David Rodriguez, Commander United States Africa Command at the Senate Armed Services Committee Posture Hearing, 6 March 2014. Available for download at www.africom.mil/.../u-s-africa-command  13  The joint publication 3-06, Joint Urban Operations, 20 November 2013 is available at http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/new_pubs/jp3_06.pdf . and Megacities and the Unites States Army: Preparing for a Complex and Uncertain Future. Available for download at http://usarmy.vo.llnwd.net/e2/c/downloads/351235.pdf .   UNCLASSIFIED 5 phenomena like urban growth and urbanization in Africa and to use lessons learned to prepare U.S. forces and enhance partner nation’s capabilities.  For example, the Western Accord exercise series brings together military contingencies from multiple countries, leaders from the Economic Community of West Africa States Standby Force (ESF), United), United Nation trainers, Para-military sector stakeholders (police, gendarmerie), and crises response stakeholders to conduct training designed to support regional peace operations and enhance crises response capabilities. Western Accord and similar exercises (African Lion, Southern Accord, and Central Accord) offer opportunities to address the challenges and opportunities associated with African urban environments. Depending on the scope of the exercise, the topic of urban growth can be included as part of in the “ academics ”  portion of the engagement, table top activities, field training, and during non-lethal weapons training activities. Sociocultural Considerations Responses to urban growth in Africa require an understanding of the sociocultural environment. Sociocultural concepts introduce questions and ideas for reflection to complement ongoing processes and approaches. 14  A core theme in the JUO is the importance of U.S. cultural competence and the inclusion of sociocultural perspectives in planning and decision making. The JUO identifies sociocultural factors and references the joint intelligence preparation of the operational environment (JIPOE) process as a tool to obtain a holistic view of the operational environment in urban zones, particularly when preparing for combat operations. How defense sector leaders approach the topic of urbanization in Africa is an important sociocultural consideration. The next section offers themes that will likely enhance engagement activities. Plan with Africans not on them 14  For more on the link between urbanization and security, see Commins, S. (2011). Urban fragility and security in Africa. Africa Security Brief. A Publication of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. 12. Washington D.C. Available at http://ndupress.ndu.edu/Portals/68/Documents/archives/asb/ASB-12.pdf . Frimpong, P. (2013). Urbanization without industrialization: the rise in urbanization in Africa. The Modern Ghana News. June. Available at http://www.modernghana.com/news/467430/1/urbanization-without-industrialization-the-rise-in.html. and   The population in an urban environment must be considered a distinct and critical aspect of the commanders’ assessment  . The human dimension is the very essence of the urban environment. Understanding local cultural, political, social, economic, and religious factors is crucial to successful JUOs and becomes central to mission success. Joint Urban Operations Publication 3-06, p. II-5
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