This paper discusses the growing interest among researchers and international agencies in better understanding the rural-urban interface in Africa. It also illustrates the key features of this interface and associated definitional issues, drawing on research in eight villages around the city of Kumasi in Ghana. All villages had processes of change linked to Kumasi, although with very different degrees of, for instance, the extent of land commercialization and its use for housing, the provision for infrastructure, and the proportion of the workforce in non-agricultural work or commuting to Kumasi. The extent of the changes in villages was influenced by many factors other than distance or accessibility, including whether the village was within Kumasi's boundaries, the power of local inhabitants in negotiations with local government, and where land for settlement by new migrants was most readily available. This supports the concept of a non-linear and nonuniform gradient of urban influences on peri-urban areas.
Simon, D., McGregor, D. and Nsiah-Gyabaah, K. 2004. The changing urban-rural interface of African cities: Definitional issues and an application to Kumasi, Ghana. Environment and Urbanisation, 16(2): 235-248.