Challenges to Rural Planning in Africa: The Case of Three Post-democratic Sub-Saharan African Countries

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The fundamental transformation of Africa is largely dependent on new approaches to rural planning and development; However, this remains a major challenge in most African countries. More than 60% of Africa‘s population is classified as rural yet rural planning and development seem to be paid lip-service. Alternatively, rural planning and development initiatives have either failed or lagged behind because of the urban bias of regional planning policies and strategies. The debate on rural planning and development is centered on an expanding body of evidence which supports the notion of rural-urban interdependence towards harmonious regional development outcomes. The derivation of positive outcomes is dependent on existing and emergent policies and strategies which focus on planned interventions to strengthen rural societies and reduce their vulnerability. Ultimately, these policies must be holistic, going beyond ad hoc service and infrastructure provision, and must encompass a series of short, medium and long-term strategies which can aid in the creation of positive and progressive rural spaces and places. This paper will examine the challenges of rural planning in three post-democratic African countries namely, South Africa, Botswana and Kenya with emphasis to spatial planning and evaluate the extent to which their existing polices and strategies have been successful. It concludes by outlining the importance and new approaches to rural planning in Africa. This paper argues that challenges to rural planning in Africa can be overcome through the formulation of holistic policies and strategies which are focused, innovative and have the tendency to produce balanced outcomes.
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Africa, Rural, Transformation, spatial planning
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