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AN ASSESSMENT OF URBANIZATION AND ITS ROLE IN POLITICAL TRANSFORMATION OF CAMEROON

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AN ASSESSMENT OF URBANIZATION AND ITS ROLE IN POLITICAL TRANSFORMATION OF  CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Cameroon, situated in the region of Central Africa, has seen significant urbanisation in the last several decades. The process of urbanisation has been a multifaceted phenomenon influenced by a range of socio-economic, political, and environmental issues (Akinsete, 2019). The process of urbanisation encompasses not only the expansion of urban areas, but also significant transformations in socioeconomic frameworks, cultural dynamics, and political environments. The urbanisation trend in Cameroon has significant ramifications for its political transition(Amare, 2021).  The political composition of Cameroon has been influenced by a multitude of causes throughout its history, including colonial legacies, ethnic heterogeneity, economic inequalities, and geopolitical dynamics. Nevertheless, the expeditious process of urbanisation seen inside the nation has brought out novel dynamics within its political domain. Urban areas have emerged as focal points for economic activity, cultural interchange, and political mobilisation, resulting in significant transformations to conventional power dynamics and systems of administration (Baydakova, 2021). 

There are several reasons why it is essential to comprehend the connection between urbanisation and political transition in Cameroon. To begin with, the expansion of urban populations has led to a growing influence of cities in determining the political landscape of nations. Metropolitan regions function as focal points for political engagement, when a multitude of interest groups meet, hence giving rise to novel political ideas and movements(Connor, and Gonzalez‑Barrera, 2019). Hence, examining the influence of urbanisation on political dynamics yields interesting perspectives on the changing characteristics of governance and democracy in Cameroon. Furthermore, the urbanisation trend in Cameroon exhibits significant variation around the nation. While some areas undergo rapid urban expansion and progress, others continue to be marginalised, resulting in geographical disparities and socio-political conflicts(Harrisberg, 2019). The variations in urbanisation patterns have important consequences for political stability and social unity, as marginalised urban groups may lose their voting rights and become vulnerable to political turmoil. 

Moreover, the process of urbanisation in Cameroon coexists with other significant concerns, including but not limited to poverty, unemployment, environmental deterioration, and public health complexities(Honwana, 2015). The issue at hand is further intensified by the clustering of people and resources in metropolitan areas, hence imposing extra burdens on the political framework to properly tackle these challenges. Therefore, a comprehensive comprehension of the interrelated obstacles confronting Cameroon's development programme may be achieved by analysing the relationship between urbanisation and political reform(Igbohor, 2017).  This research seeks to evaluate the influence of urbanisation on the political metamorphosis of Cameroon. The research aims to clarify the impact of urbanisation on governance institutions, political involvement, and policy results by examining demographic trends, urban dynamics, and political processes(Irune, 2018). Furthermore, via the analysis of case studies pertaining to certain cities and areas in Cameroon, this study aims to ascertain geographical disparities in urbanisation trends and their subsequent impacts on political dynamics. This study aims to provide evidence-based insights that can inform policymakers, urban planners, civil society organisations, and international stakeholders in their endeavours to promote inclusive and sustainable development in Cameroon (Ishaku, 2021). It seeks to achieve this by conducting a comprehensive investigation into the relationship between urbanisation and political transformation. By developing a comprehensive comprehension of the intricate relationship between urbanisation and politics, it becomes feasible to devise focused interventions that effectively cater to the requirements and ambitions of varied urban communities. This, in turn, can make a significant contribution to the overall progress of democracy, fairness, and economic well-being in Cameroon.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Urbanisation has emerged as a prominent worldwide phenomena, exerting a profound influence on several facets of society, notably the realm of politics. In the specific context of Cameroon, a nation now undergoing a significant process of urbanisation, it is essential to comprehend the interconnection between urbanisation and political development(Ishaku, 2021). Nevertheless, despite its significance, there exists a dearth of academic investigation concerning the impact of urbanisation on political processes in Cameroon. The present research aims to address the existing gap in knowledge pertaining to the intricate interplay between urbanisation and political reform in the context of Cameroon. The phenomenon of urbanisation is now progressing at an unparalleled pace; yet, its potential impact on political processes, governance structures, and citizen engagement has not been well investigated (Ishaku, 2021). The lack of information in this area is a barrier to adopting well-informed policies and impedes the progress towards promoting inclusive and efficient government in Cameroon. Hence, the need to assess urbanization and its role in political transformation of  Cameroon.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The broad objective of the study is to assess Urbanization and its role in Political Transformation of  Cameroon. The specific objectives is as follows

To analyze the level of urbanization in Cameroon over the past two decades.

To investigate the factors driving urbanization in Cameroon.

To assess the relationship between urbanization and political participation in civic activities.

To examine the impact of urbanization on governance structures in Cameroon.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared to further guide the study

What is the level of urbanization in Cameroon over the past two decades?

What are the factors driving urbanization in Cameroon?

Is there a relationship between urbanization and political participation in civic activities?

What is  the impact of urbanization on governance structures in Cameroon?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The findings of the study will be significant to the following

Policymakers: Findings from the study can inform evidence-based policymaking aimed at fostering inclusive political processes and equitable urban development. By understanding how urbanization influences political dynamics, policymakers can design policies that promote citizen participation, social cohesion, and responsive governance in urban areas, thereby contributing to sustainable development and democratic consolidation in Cameroon.

Academic Contribution: The study adds to the existing body of literature on urbanization and political transformation, particularly in the context of sub-Saharan Africa. By generating empirical evidence and theoretical insights, it enriches scholarly debates on the relationship between urbanization, politics, and development, thereby advancing academic understanding and stimulating further research in this field.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study focuses on  assessing urbanization and its role in political transformation of  Cameroon. Empirically, the study will analyze the level of urbanization in Cameroon over the past two decades, investigate the factors driving urbanization in Cameroon, assess the relationship between urbanization and political participation in civic activities and examine the impact of urbanization on governance structures in Cameroon. Hence, this study covers from 2004 to present.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Urbanization: The phenomenon characterized by the increasing concentration of population, economic activities, infrastructure, and development in urban areas, typically accompanied by the expansion of cities and towns at the expense of rural areas.

Political Transformation: The significant and systemic changes in the political structure, institutions, processes, power dynamics, ideologies, and governance mechanisms within a society or nation, often resulting from various social, economic, cultural, or environmental factors.


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