Migration and Socio-Economic Development in African Cities: The Dual Challenge to the Aerotropolis Project of South Africa’s Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality

Aerotropolis development is a metropolitan subregion whose infrastructure, land-use, and economy are centred on an airport

Abstract

This paper engages with efforts by cities and municipalities across the developing world to find favourable positions within the global economy. While many aim to attract highly skilled talent, tourists and industry, few adequately consider that economic success is likely to attract and, indeed, requires other migrants.

The ‘Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis’ project illustrates this point. Indeed, this paper argues that South Africa’s Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (one of the country’s fastest growing cities due to migration) faces an acute dual challenge: negative perceptions towards low and medium skilled migrants and a lack of migration policy that threatens to derail its newly launched aerotropolis project. If not addressed, these challenges mean the city is unlikely to meet the minimum aerotropolis requirements including: a safe and stable environment that is attractive to foreign investment and skilled labour; adequate and modern infrastructure that ensures a successful global competitiveness. For its aerotropolis project to succeed or at least be the catalyst for the mandatory inclusive socio-economic development, the city needs to overcome these popular and institutional cognitive blocks.

There is a related policy brief published in June 1997

Both the working paper and brief are published under the Migrating out of Poverty programme, which is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

Citation

Jean Pierre Misago. Migration and Socio-Economic Development in African Cities : The Dual Challenge to the Aerotropolis Project of South Africa’s Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality. Migrating out of Poverty RPC Working Paper No. 35. Migrating out of Poverty Consortium, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK (2016) 35 pp.

Published 1 May 2016