Southern African cities are on the move. As elsewhere in the global south, populations are continuing to grow, shrink and transform in response to demographic and economic pressures (Crush et al. 2005; Potts 2009). As the foundation of government, local authorities are on the frontlines of managing the transformations of their communities in ways that provide stability and economic opportunities. Through an examination of six South African municipalities and Gaborone, Botswana’s economic and political capital, this report helps us come to terms with local governments’ responses to population mobility. This research suggests that few authorities across Southern Africa are positioned to capitalise on migration’s counter-poverty potential. This is partly due to general difficulties of grappling with structural poverty and their expanded mandates. Authorities also face specific migration-related challenges: the availability and use of data; patterns of budgeting and popular participation; and political resistance to newcomers. If addressed, these concerns would not only enable local authorities to respond more effectively to migration, but also to plan for economic development in a more strategic and sustained manner. This report provides a tool for assessing municipalities’ ability to respond and to help explain capacity variations. Our work identifies six primary indices for evaluating municipalities’ abilities and practices surrounding the management of human mobility and other population dynamics. Each of these includes a series of sub-measures for calculating aggregate and sub-area scores. While the measures outlined within are more indicative than exhaustive, they nonetheless allow for comparative analysis and point to areas for future interventions to improve local government strategies for poverty alleviation.
Blaser, C.; Landau, L.B. Managing Migration in Southern Africa: Tools for Evaluating Local Government Responsiveness. Migrating out of Poverty RPC Working Paper 19. Migrating out of Poverty Consortium, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK (2014) 27 pp.