Debates Conférences
from 09:30 to 12:45
This event is public
Dembecha, woreda in Ethiopia's Amhara region, April 20, 2019
Dembecha, woreda in Ethiopia's Amhara region, April 20, 2019

Politics and Policies of Africa’s Intermediate Cities Conférence hybride

Debates on Africa’s urbanization have long focused on the continent’s capital- and megacities, such as Dakar, Lagos or Nairobi. Africa’s capital cities concentrate political offices, cultural goods, foreign direct investment as well as local economic production and businesses.

Demographic trends suggest however, that secondary and intermediate urban agglomerations ranging from several tens to some hundreds of thousands of inhabitants, are the continent’s fastest growing cities. With annual growth rates reaching up to 9%, intermediate cities reflect rapidly transforming territories, often situated between and linking capital cities and the rural periphery.

Given these demographic trends, secondary and intermediate cities have recently received more attention, both in urban studies and international policy debates. For example, experts and scholars have developed definitions and have analyzed socio-economic contributions of these cities to the broader urban network.

The aim of this event is twofold: firstly, the contributions will reflect how intermediate cities are defined, problematized, and addressed by different institutions and in different countries "policies". For instance, to what extent are these secondary categories of cities addressed in national and local urban policies? Secondly, the presentations will investigate the politics of governing intermediate cities, by focusing on the various stakeholders and the competition involved in urban governance.


This conference will take place in English with simultaneous translation and in hybrid format (in-person at Ifri, and online).
All times are listed in Paris time (CEST).




9.30-11.00 CEST

Panel 1: Policy initiatives to assess and address Africa’s intermediate cities 

  • Julien Boglietto, Project Manager, French Development Agency
  • Monsuru Muritala, Senior researcher, University of Ibadan (Nigeria)
  • Margherita Fadda, Junior Policy Analyst, OECD
  • François Yatta, Director of operations and technical assitance, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa, Coordinator of Africities

Chair: Jean-Fabien Steck, Head of mission, Center of analysis, prevision and strategy of the Ministry for Europe and foreign affairs



11.00-11.15 CEST

Coffee break



11.15-12.45 CEST

Panel 2: The politics of governing Africa’s intermediate cities

  • Lena Gutheil, Researcher, German Institute of Development and Sustainability
  • Patience Mususa, Senior researcher, Nordic Africa Institute (Sweden)
  • Karen Büscher, Lecturer, Ghent University (Belgium)
  • Rufino d’Almeida, Mayor of Bohicon (Benin) 

Chair: Sina Schlimmer, Researcher & program coordinator, French Institute of International Relations




27 rue de la Procession, 75015 Paris
Contact the organizers: 

For more information or to sign up, please contact afrique@ifri.org. When registering, please specify whether you wish to participate in a face-to-face or virtual format.

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City Diplomacy in Africa Demographic Transition Geopolitics of African cities Intermediate Cities transition démographique Urban governance in Africa Urbanization Africa