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Cars, buses, and small homes line the sides of a crowded African street.

Africa Urban Development Research Initiative

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 Africa Urban Development Research Initiative (AUDRI) is a comprehensive research program at the Stanford King Center on Global Development that focuses on sub-Saharan Africa’s urbanization and the long-run impacts of migration on household welfare and economic growth.

AUDRI comprises a series of wide-ranging multiyear studies of the changing social, economic, 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, service providers, and local officials that together determine a community’s quality of life, AUDRI aims to produce groundbreaking insights that help policymakers, business leaders, and academics design and implement policies and programs in those cities and beyond. Data collected will also be made public to enable additional evidence-based studies of interest to development researchers.

AUDRI is committed to promoting collaboration with in-country research groups and decision makers. The initiative also provides graduate students with extensive training in fieldwork and data analysis methods, as well as the opportunity to use the data generated to conduct cost-effective research on their own. Preliminary results from the first round of studies in Addis Ababa are now available.

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

The Africa Urban Development Research Initiative (AUDRI) was formerly known as the Stanford Economic Development Research Initiative (SEDRI).