Only a certain level of social and economic development enables more people to increase their aspirations and to migrate. 

Rural-urban migration: overestimated

But the fact that rural development projects are not a very effective measure to stop migration out of rural areas is not the only fallacy in this context. The other one is that rural outmigration is predominantly linked to urban in-migration and urbanisation, respectively. The contribution that migration actually makes to urbanisation in sub-Saharan Africa but also in other parts of the world is overestimated. Meanwhile, natural population growth in towns and cities is a stronger driver of urban growth than in-migration. Thanks to better health services and improved levels of food security, birth rates in African urban areas by far exceed death rates. Furthermore, the urbanisation rate in sub-Saharan Africa is still much lower as compared to East Asia, for instance. In other words, the share of the population living in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa is not dramatically changing in favour of the urban share of the population.

Population estimates by UNDESA assume that the African urbanisation rate will stagnate at about one per cent in the next three decades.