The United Nations has recently reported that the highest rates of urban growth in the world are now found in Africa. The governance structures in the large, rapidly growing metropolitan areas of the continent face great challenges, including relatively weak governmental institutions and poor urban services yet high levels of poverty, illiteracy, and poor health status of urban populations. The capacity of urban governance has improved in many African countries as reform of the state has come to be seen as an important element of economic, social, and political development. But governance systems are facing a new and increasingly significant challenge: natural hazards resulting from climate change.

CCAPS metropolitan governance research examines the capacity of governmental systems for disaster preparedness and mitigation across a range of climate-related hazards in a set of large urban areas in Africa. CCAPS research aims to analyze and assess the capacity of metropolitan governance systems in Africa, which are comprised of networks of local, regional, and national government agencies, multilateral organizations, non-profit and community-based organization. Of particular interest is local government with its key roles as first responder but also its roles in local infrastructure provision and land use regulation. Although local government capacity has generally improved in recent decades, it has rarely been the priority of state reform in Africa where efforts focus primarily on national governments and political legitimacy. But in all countries, mobilizing governmental capacity in metropolitan areas often faces the additional challenge of fragmented local government systems spread over vast urbanized areas. CCAPS case studies will examine best practices and approaches for strengthening metropolitan governance in Africa.