Urban Challenges in the Middle East and North Africa

Abosa Hadoud


Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has one of the world’s most rapidly expanding populations. Urban areas are the primary locus of this growth, as urban share of total population grew from 48% in 1985 to close to 60% in 2017, and it is expected to exceed 70 % by 2027. Against this very high rate of urbanization and the provision of adequate infrastructure and public services for the increase in the rates of urban, the key urban challenge the accumulation of population in urban areas and lack of services and the increasing pressure on the fragile environment from urbanization. Another major challenge in MENA is the very high percentage of informal housing, reaching 20-40% in some parts of the region creating social pressures and linking to economic opportunity for lower income groups. As well as the problems of unemployment. Finally there is also need to develop the capacity to manage natural disasters protection of the environment.

Key words: Middle East, North Africa, rapid urban population growth, deterioration of the urban environment, uncontrolled sprawl

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