At present, the rapid transformation of African cities is influenced by local, regional and global multidimensional forces that demand more attention on the urban dimension of African settlements. As it is forecasted, African communities will become more urbanised between 2000 and 2030, and with this physical shift comes environmental and social adversities such as pollution, gender and education disparities, food scarcity, access to water and sanitation among other burdens.
Urban vulnerability in Africa is a function of anthropogenic factors that may influence the susceptibility of local communities to environmental risk. The need to transcend unilateral perspectives is central to address current and future challenges in Africa. This is done by reflecting on different set of characteristics, (social realities, demographic conditions, as well as the economic and political backgrounds) that determine vulnerability.
The cyclical loop between urban areas and environmental problems is more obvious when examining climate change related issues. Several African cities, while showing signs of development and growth are paradoxically becoming more at risk. Their exposure to a hazard is substantiated by a series of cumulative flood, drought and sea rise level circumstances, which have been observed in recent years. African nations need to absorb the social, economic and environmental impact caused by natural disasters. Climate change related hazards are likely to aggravate their current state if efforts to improve their coping and resilient capacities are not undertaken.