Most of the growth in the world's population is taking place in developing countries and most of the projected increase of 1 000 million people between 1999 and around 2010 is likely to be absorbed by cities in these countries - cities already faced with enormous backlogs in housing and infrastructure development, and struggling with increasingly overcrowded transportation systems, insufficient water supplies, deteriorating sanitation and environmental pollution. In spite of this, people continue to migrate to cities in the hope of a better life, often as a result of the devastation of rural economies by land degradation.
Major cities in Africa are experiencing rapid growth. Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Lagos and Kinshasa grew sevenfold during 1950-80, mainly because of rural-urban migration (Johns Hopkins 1998). During 1950-95 the population of Cairo quadrupled from 2.4 million to 9.7 million. Lagos in Nigeria is now even bigger with 10.3 million inhabitants (United Nations Population Division 1997). In 1997, the largest cities in 24 African countries had populations of more than one million each (UNDP 1997), nearly half of them in Western and Central Africa. Rapid urbanization is expected to continue for decades.
2. Globalization policies lead to a number of negative outcomes, including massive population shifts from rural to urban areas, with commensurate poverty, famine, ethnic friction, and degradation of living and working conditions and human rights.
2. Migration from countryside to city does not in itself create difficulties, since it is part of the process of economic development and diversification. The issue is not so much the overall rural-urban shift, but rather the distribution of urban growth between large metropolitan cities and smaller urban settlements.