Causes of Informal Settlement in Africa: A systematic review


  • Justice Agyei Ampofo Judicial Service of Ghana
  • Abu Iddrisu Environmental Protection Agency, Tamale, Northern Region (Ghana)
  • Gemechu Fufa Arfasa Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Environment and Sustainability Sciences, University for Development Studies, Tamale (Ghana)
  • Isaac Mantey Mendel University (Czech Republic)
  • Emelia Aniah Ghana Education Service


Informal Settlement, Cause and Consequences, Africa


This paper presents the results of a systematic review aimed at identifying the underlying causes of informal settlements on the continent. Through a meticulous screening process, 92 papers were selected for qualitative analysis from an initial pool of 574 eligible items. The study elucidates that informal settlements emerge as a consequence of rapid urbanization and serve as stark indicators of urban poverty, proliferating in improvised forms within and around African cities. Key systemic issues contributing to the expansion of informal settlements include the lack of access to affordable housing, inadequacies in spatial planning policies, and deficiencies in land management systems, all exacerbated by the challenges of growing urban poverty. Despite variations across national contexts, countries grappling with informal settlement growth share common underlying problems. The findings underscore the enduring nature of informal settlements and advocate for a nuanced understanding of their complexities. Efforts to address these challenges necessitate a holistic approach that integrates the informal settlements into local government policies. Recognizing the resilience and agency of informal settlement dwellers, the study emphasizes the need for inclusive strategies that harness the economic potential of these communities. In conclusion, the study posits that informal settlements are unlikely to vanish and calls for heightened attention to be paid to these settlements within urban policy frameworks. By incorporating informal settlements into policy discourse and interventions, governments can strive towards more equitable and sustainable urban development trajectories across Africa.




How to Cite

Ampofo, J. A. ., Iddrisu, A. ., Arfasa, G. F. ., Mantey, I. ., & Aniah, E. . (2024). Causes of Informal Settlement in Africa: A systematic review. ADRRI Journal of Contemporary African Development, 1(1 (1), January 2024-March,2024), 1-18. Retrieved from