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African Urbanization and Development Research Initiative

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Africa is one of the most rapidly urbanizing regions in the world. The United Nations estimates that, by 2035, nearly half of the continent’s population will be living in cities. Rising urban populations offer tremendous opportunities for economic growth and prosperity, but they also pose big challenges for infrastructure development, job creation, and access to basic services.

The African Urbanization and Development Research Initiative (AUDRI) is a research program to study, through the construction of a wide-ranging multi-year panel dataset, the changing economic, social, and political conditions in two of Africa’s largest cities—the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, and the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire, Abidjan. 

Through rigorous analyses of the complex web of interactions among individuals, firms, service providers, and local officials that together determine a community’s quality of life, AUDRI aims to produce insights that can inform policies and practices in those two cities and beyond. Data collected are made publicly available, to enable additional evidence-based studies of interest to academics and policymakers.

AUDRI is committed to promoting collaboration with in-country research groups and decision makers. The initiative also provides graduate and undergraduate students with extensive training in data collection and data analysis methods, as well as the opportunity to use the data generated to conduct their own research

Descriptive results are available from the first waves of data collection in Addis Ababa and in Abidjan. In 2020, AUDRI conducted rapid phone surveys to assess the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on households. AUDRI produced a short report for the Ethiopian government regarding school re-entry

For more information about AUDRI, please contact King Center Executive Director Jessica Leino at