Addis Abeba ranked 10th among poorest cities in the world Nick Compton, The Guardian Which is the poorest city in the world? Ranking hardship is not a simple, or happy, task – but as the world urbanises, city poverty becomes ever more important. Here are the places that struggle most For most of history, and despite the stereotype of urban squalour, it has been the countryside where poverty has particularly thrived. But as the world urbanises, poverty is moving with it. Over the past decade, the share of poverty in the developing world blighting cities rather than rural areas has jumped from 17% to 28%. In sub-Saharan Africa, almost a quarter of all poverty is urban. In east Asia, half. You know it when you see it, of course, but modelling poverty is a complicated business, and ranking hardship not a simple, or happy, task. One thing is certain, though: given that China has so effectively hauled much of its population out of pauperism, and with North Korea statistically dark, sub-Saharan Africa has the most extreme examples of urban impoverishment. Choose your platform iPhone Android Roku Apple TV There are supranational forces that take a strong interest in these things: the UN, the IMF and the World Bank chief among them. (The CIA is pretty hot on this stuff, too.) The World Bank and IMF use an array of statistical criteria to quantify poverty. There’s gross domestic product at purchasing power parity per capita, or GDP (PPP) per capita, which adjusts for comparative costs of living and inflation. There are complex models of income inequality. And there’s the more easily comprehensible headcount of people who live on less than $1.25 a day. Although they don’t break down these figures on a citywide basis, the stats make clear the desperate straits of many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the IMF, the poorest countries in 2013 were Eritrea, Liberia, Burundi, Zimbabwe and, taking the bottom spot, the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2012, though, the UN decided to get to grips with poverty stats city by city. It launched what it called the City Prosperity Index [pdf], featuring an add-on conceptual aid, the Wheel of Prosperity. The index uses a more complex model of privation, which takes into account productivity, quality of life, infrastructure development and environmental sustainability, as well as equity and social inclusion. Each city gets a score between zero and one. The UN hopes the index provides a fuller picture of poverty in these cities, and therefore can be a more useful tool for putting together development strategies. There are certainly common trajectories to these cities’ woes, and seemingly intractable problems, from post-colonial re-constitution to bloody conflict, corruption to water shortages, lack of health care to disease. Addis Ababa and Dakar, which come in at No 10 and 9, have some positive developments to note, says the UN. They are both investing in infrastructure and manufacturing, and striving to overcome what is their key problem: the instability of Ethiopia and Senegal’s immediate neighbours. Harare, at No 8, however, is a city in steep decline. Once a key economic motor in Zimbabwe with a cityscape and infrastructure to match, the city is crumbling, and more people than ever live in makeshift slums. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, can only dream of Harare’s slum levels: a full 70% of the city’s population lives in informal settlements. Like other cities on the list, though, Dar is a victim of its own “success”: the population had doubled in the last two decades to 4 million. In Zambia, a mineral-rich country that is Africa’s largest producer of copper, life expectancy is just 56, and the capital, Lusaka – the fifth poorest in the world – struggles to cope with high levels of HIV and Aids. West African capitals dominate the bottom five, and for similar reasons. Niamey in Niger, Bamako in Mali, Antananarivo in Madagascar (in southeast Africa) and Conakry in Guinea are all victims of conflict, terrorism, political instability and ethnic tensions, which stifle their potential for growth. And these conditions are exemplified by what the UN has identified as the poorest city in the world, Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. Liberia was founded in the early 19th century by free African Americans (not by freed slaves, as is often presumed, though many freed slaves followed). The capital was named after the US president James Monroe, and you can still see something of the antebellum south in Monrovia’s older architecture. What’s left of it, that is. Monrovia was devastated by civil war and Charles Taylor’s child soldiers in the 1990s. Supplies of fresh water and electricity are still unreliable. So is public transport and healthcare. Only a third of the one million or so citizens have access to a functioning toilet. In the huge shantytowns, many use poorly built latrines that collapse during the rainy season, or they use the beach or the narrow spaces between houses, and the failing sewerage system pumps raw waste into the streets. And last year, to add insult to injury, Monrovia was hit with an Ebola outbreak. What is so frustrating about Monrovia’s plight is that Liberia is rich with gold and diamond mines – the profits from which rarely end up in the public purse. Of course, these are pockets of misery in a huge continent. There are as many stories of new wealth and emergent middle classes in Africa as there are of civic dysfunction. The cities continue to mushroom at a pace outstripped nowhere else on Earth. Addressing their urban poverty is more important than ever. Daniel Watch Ethiopian movies legally. Upto 5 movies added daily. Here are the top 10 most viewed movies today. 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