This text summarises an ongoing research project about small cities which are usually not included in the research agenda on global cities. We aim at bridging between research focused on global or world cities and that on smaller or secondary cities in Africa. Arguing against the view of smaller Third World cities as mere towns, as “not yet cities”, and therefore irrelevant to world city theorizing, this project intends to develop an alternative analytical
approach to think differently about these small cities in the South. Basing ourselves on ongoing ethnographic research in Ghana, Congo and Namibia, we argue that these secondary cities are fully urban in that they generate networks and practices that extend far beyond the local limits of these cities and their immediate rural hinterland, and that they often manage to do so in more successful ways than their larger counterparts. At the same time these secondary cities are sites in which new and different forms of urban life and imagination are being shaped, offering the perspective of an alternative African urban future.