The purpose of this paper is to outline the urbanization process in Africa, and to describe some of the environment and health implications of rapid urban growth in a selection of African cities. Much of the paper is based on case studies of ten cities, specially prepared for this purpose. The paper is divided into four main sections. The first section outlines the global urbanization process, and the special features of urbanization in Africa, for example the late stage of transition to a predominantly urban world and the occurrence of urbanization in Africa in a context of poverty and inequity. Section Two describes the approach adopted in the preparation of the case studies and the paper, and the sources of data used. In the third section key issues of health relevance in urban settings in Africa are discussed, including housing quality, energy and air pollution, violence, migration, xenophobia and health. This section has been based mainly on the ten case studies, and supplemented with data and information from a range of additional sources, including the published and “grey” literature. The fourth and final section gives an overview of the main findings as well as an indication of some of the key actions that need to be taken by various role players to address detrimental health situations in Africa’s cities.
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