Tag Archives: Kenya
By Edward Paice
Everyone knows that Nairobi’s Kibera district is the largest “informal settlement”, or slum, in sub-Saharan Africa. At least, they used to know. Politicians, journalists, NGOs and urban planning professionals routinely declared that 700,000 – 1,000,000 people lived in Kibera. But when the district was geo-statistically mapped for the first time in 2009 its population was estimated at no more than 220,000-250,000. Kibera has not exactly disappeared, but it is a shadow of its former imagined self.
In similar vein, the city of Lagos is widely believed to have about 15 million inhabitants – an estimate supported by the city authorities in the wake of Nigeria’s contested (and manipulated) 2006 census. But the 2009 Africapolis survey of West Africa’s urban population, the most sophisticated to date and compiled with the aid of satellite imagery, found that the city was home to no more than 10 million people. Even more significantly, while Nigeria’s census claimed that the country’s population was 140 million, the Africapolis team concluded that “in reality, [Nigeria] probably does not contain 100 million”. (more…)
The Nordic Africa Institute has published an excellent paper on one of the world’s most conflict prone regions: the Horn of Africa (which, broadly defined, encompasses Somalia/Somaliland, Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and parts of Kenya, Sudan, and Southern Sudan).
Kidane Mengisteab, the author, does an especially good job analyzing “the core and contextual factors” that underlay the large number of “inter-state, intra-state and communal” conflicts that have long plagued the region. By examining history, social relationships, the fragmentation of institutions, and regional politics, the paper is able to get at the driving forces that have created vicious cycles of social exclusion, weak government, and zero sum competition for resources. It correctly articulates that any solution will have to include simultaneous efforts on “diversity management, nation-building, democratization, and institutional reform at all levels.” (more…)