Africa’s Urban Challenge

Every day, thousands of people arrive in Africa's cities seeking a better life, only to realize that they must raise their children in a slum. But for how long will members of the new generation of urban poor – soon the majority in developing countries – allow themselves to be marginalized?

NAIROBI – My mother, like her mother, her grandmother, and so on, was born into poverty in the rural village of Rarieda, Kenya. I, too, was born in the village, and lived there until it was struck by a brutal famine when I was two years old. With no food, money, or opportunities, my mother did what thousands of African villagers do every day: she moved us to the city in search of a better life. But, given the lack of jobs and housing in Nairobi, we ended up in Kibera, one of Africa’s largest slums.