Political Economy and Urban Poverty in the Developing Countries: Lessons Learned from the Sudanese Experience

Yasin Abdalla Eltayeb Elhadary, Narimah Samat


Urbanization is rapidly growing all over the world with a high rate of growth in the developing countries. Several factors are presumed to be responsible for the unfolding of urban growth and urbanization processes, which include but not limited, massive rural-urban migration, imbalances in the provision of social services, change in land use policy, market liberalization, conflict, wars, natural disasters, and the consequences resulting from deficient economic policies and attendant practices. In a country like Sudan, rapid urban growth has a propensity of culminating in reduction of job opportunities, which is coupled with high cost of living that subjects urban dwellers particularly the vulnerable group to be plunged into deep poverty.

This paper deals with the issue of urban poverty in the developing countries taking Sudan as an example. The overall objective is to uncover the current situation of urban poverty with particular emphasis on its pattern, causes, indicators and the policies adopted for tackling and alleviating urban poverty. By so doing, it is expected that this piece could help in bridging some gaps regarding the understanding and knowledge with regard to urban poverty. The political economy approach is used in order to link political and economic policies at both national and international levels. This approach shows that the urban poor in developing countries tends to be further impoverished mainly as a result of defective economic policies rather than other causative factors. It is believed that the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) prescribed by the World Bank could be held responsible for pushing a considerable number of urban dwellers into poverty. Since their accession to independence, most of the developing countries are induced by alleged benefits that could accrue from subscribing to western economic policy prescriptions that are in most cases irrelevant to the need of local communities. The establishment of big projects under the pretext of “new development” has always been a political decision that is shaped by the interests of national and international policymakers rather than local priorities and needs.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/jgg.v3n1p63

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