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Are informal settlements urban villages? The case of the periphery of Ouagadougou

Clémentine Rossier, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Abdramane Soura, Université de Ouagadougou
Bruno Lankoande, Université de Ouagadougou
Roch Millogo, Université de Ouagadougou

Like other African cities, Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, is growing rapidly; part of its inhabitants live in informal settlements. One third of Ouagadougou dwellers were born elsewhere (2006 census), and migrants seem to settle predominantly in peripheral and /or informal areas. Informal settlements are therefore often seen as places which are only partly urbanized. In this analysis, using data from the Ouagadougou Demographic Surveillance System (ODSS), which started at the end of 2008 and follows about 80 000 individuals in five poor peripheral neighborhoods of the city, we question the existence of such “urban villages”. Informal neighborhoods are superficially similar to rural areas because of a lack of public services (electricity, water, tar roads..). However, we show that inhabitants of informal areas are as urban as formal neighborhoods dwellers, albeit poorer. Demographic characteristics, housing characteristics and economic indicators are compared across types of neighborhoods and to rural averages.

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Presented in Session 9: Patterns, trends, and consequences of urbanization