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23 February


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Maximizing the Employment Potential of Secondary Cities in Zambia

Across the African continent, rapid urbanization is changing the way people live and work. It is estimated that in the next three decades, 900 million people will be added to Africa’s cities, nearly tripling the current urban population on the continent. But most countries in Africa have so far been unsuccessful in leveraging the benefits of urbanization to promote the creation of more and better jobs. Many of Africa’s cities face productivity and efficiency constraints – like poor planning, congestion, sprawl, and poorly managed land markets. What’s more, several countries in the region struggle to create centers of economic opportunity beyond a single primary city, resulting in a highly uneven pattern of development.

Often celebrated as engines of growth, the vast potential of cities hinges on prudent policies that promote productive employment opportunities. Where cities fail to create good jobs, we witness a growing urban underclass stuck in low-paying, low-quality informal jobs.

Against this backdrop, JustJobs Network is studying labor market trends in Zambia to propose a policy framework that will help the country’s leaders bend the power of urbanization to create just jobs. This project builds on JustJobs Network’s 2016 report – Promoting Job-Rich Urbanization in Zambia – and addresses a critical question around urban policy: How to balance job-rich growth and urbanization across cities of different sizes? The objective is to promote a pattern of development where opportunity reaches more people in more places.

Based on a rigorous analysis of primary and secondary data, this report will inform the development efforts of the Zambian government to promote growth and opportunity in secondary and tertiary cities, particularly in context of Zambia’s recent economic slowdown. JustJobs’s global network partner, ZIPAR, will provide key ground-level inputs to support the research effort. Resources for the project are provided by Kivu International, through a program funded by DfID (Department for International Development, UK).

This 8-month long study will conclude in September 2017.


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