Cities produce more than 80 per cent of global economic output. No country has grown to middle-income status without urbanising, and none has grown to high income status without vibrant cities. Cities, therefore, are key platforms for national, regional and global growth.
If the South African economy is to grow more rapidly, and if it is to do so in a way that creates mass employment, this can only happen in our cities.
National development policy needs to recognise that cities are a source of strength – perhaps the country’s greatest – and of comparative advantage. As such they should be at the centre of our growth strategy.
Cities themselves need to put growth and employment at the heart of urban strategy.
Faster, more inclusive economic growth would have an enormously beneficial impact on South Africa and in particular on its three largest cities. As in other developing countries, South Africa’s large cities are its most prominent sites of current and future growth. Exploiting this opportunity fully would transform the economic opportunities and life chances of millions of people.