Are Africa's most populous and economically dominant cities engines of growth or infestations of economic parasitism? This book highlights the 'apex' cities of East and Southern Africa, a region hitherto seen as relatively sparsely populated and rural in nature. As urbanization levels have risen, much has been written about the problems of urban governance and livelihood, yet the economic coherence of these large cities remains inapprehensible. How and why have their populations grown in the absence of an industrial base? With a racial legacy of slave trading, colonial divide and rule policies and apartheid, political insecurity and conflict have afflicted many. Still urbanization has proceeded and the apex city economies have endured, nowhere more remarkably than in Mogadishu, a city without a municipal and national government for over a decade. This book analyzes the East and Southern Africa's apex city economies, probing how they have altered structurally over time and their current sources of economic vitality and vulnerability. Individual case study chapters are written by authors who have an in-depth, authoritative grasp of the fluctuating fortunes of the individual cities they write about. In so doing, they confront a number of key issues and questions: What are the short and long-term dynamics of infrastructural investment on an urban economy? Does tourism offer a viable basis for urban economic rejuvenation? What influence do housing policies have on the welfare and livelihood pursuits of urban residents? Are traditional land tenure systems compatible with the development of urban economies? Under what conditions do urban and rural branches of a family relinquish their economic interdependence? How well do civic groups serve the interests of the urban poor?

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