The Political Economy of Urbanization in Botswana

Gaborone, Botswana. Photo: Aquila

High levels of ethnic diversity are often framed as static impediments to political stability and conflict prevention in Africa. However, ethnicity is no immutable phenomenon and levels of diversity change over time. In fact, increases in urbanization are correlated with higher levels of ethnic homogenization. Botswana, with the highest rate of urbanization of any country in the world since 1950, is a case in point. As many African states are projected to experience urbanization booms in the coming decades, resulting changes in ethnic diversity may have significant policy implications for development and stability.

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Security Topics: Identity Conflict