A settlement is a place where people live. A settlement may be as small as a single house in a remote area or as large as a megacity (a city with over 10 million residents). A settlement may be permanent or temporary. An example of a temporary settlement is a refugee camp. However, a temporary settlement may become permanent over time. This has happened to many refugee camps that have been built in conflict zones.
The following are factors affecting the growth of settlement in Africa
- Availability of water; the area with enough water attracts more people to settle in those areas compared to arid or dry areas. For example places such as Rungwe in Mbeya which has plenty of water have high growth of settlement while areas such as Longido which is arid has low growth rate of settlement
- Availability of land for agricultural activities; The areas which have fertile land attract people to settle there while infertile land make people move away from it. For example areas along Kilimanjaro slope which is fertile due to volcanic soil have high growth of settlement compared to areas such as Mpwapwa which is infertile due to soil erosion which low growth rate
- Relief of the area; people prefer in areas which are have gentle slopes and tend to avoid settling in areas which have steep slopes due to difficult in establishing infrastructure and thin soil found in the steep slopes. Also people tend to avoid settling in flat areas susceptible to flooding. For in Katumba Songwe in Kyela people avoid to settle due to floods from river Kiwira
- Availability of social services; people prefer to live in areas which have social services such as education, water and electricity and avoid settling in areas which lack social services. For example many rural areas in African continent low settlement growth rate due lack of social services while urban areas such as Dar es salaam have high settlement growth rate due to abundance of social service
- Climatic condition; areas which have adequate rainfall tend to have high growth of settlement due to high agricultural production while areas which experience low rain fall tend to have low growth of settlement due to shortage of water and poor agricultural production
- Government policy; government can affect the growth of settlement by forcing people to settle in certain area or persuade people to settle in certain area by supplying social services and other incentives. Also government policy affect settlement growth through town and land use planning. For example there has been a rapid growth of settlement in kinyerezi area on the outskirt of Dar es salaam city due to government decision to allocate that land to settlement and supplying social services