We are at a key moment in economic history right now. This is the definitive movement of the world and economic life from a world of territorial states and economies to one of cities. Cities have been a feature of human life for almost 6,000 years, but for most of human history they have been a minority experience, with no more than 10% of the population living there. Today, though, they are more important than ever. You cannot understand the nature of the present world economy without understanding the centrality of cities to the world we live in. The future is also going to be city-dominated, and several of the main trends we can see in economics, politics and social life come from that.
Across the globe, cities are where the action is. The last 60 years have seen urbanisation that is unprecedented in its scale and universality and this is continuing. Currently 55% of the world’s population live in cities, according to the UN, and this is predicted to reach 68% by 2050. If the process of urbanisation in Africa continues to accelerate, the figure then will be even higher.