South Africa's Cities Must Include Everyone

South African cities drive national growth, and they're growing impressively. But too many people are being left out of this good news story. By GECI KARURI-SEBINA.

Times are grim. Across the board, we share concerns about slow economic growth, the continued looming threat of junk status, rising costs, tight budgets and tightening belts. While we are all looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, of which cities are acknowledged as one (Are Cities our Golden Goose?; CDE Growth Agenda Series: CITIES,, we have some hard truths to face about whether we are all pulling on the same side.

Why would we not, at least in cities? The forthcoming State of South African Cities report (22 June 2016) shows that our metropolitan areas have over the past two decades increasingly driven national economic growth. The Gauteng City Region alone accounts for a third of national economic activity (31.9%), while the set of eight metros combine to generate almost two-thirds of the country's economic activity and half of all employment in South Africa.