Summit to Focus on Africa’s Urban Opportunities and Challenges
By Abdi Ali
Published September 7, 2017
The architects, project developers, investors, town planners, and city managers who shall gather at the 2nd African Real Estate & Infrastructure Summit shall be expected to discuss Africa’s urban opportunities and challenges based on the theme, ‘Developing Future African Cities’.
Leading African cities have been invited to showcase their major infrastructure and building projects and opportunities during the summit scheduled for October 25-26. They include Kenya’s Nairobi, Uganda’s Kampala, Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam, Rwanda’s Kigali, Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa, Nigeria’s Abuja and Lagos, Congo-Kinshasa’s Kinshasa, Angola’s Luanda, Zambia’s Lusaka,, Mozambique’s Maputo, Zimbabwe’s Harare and South Africa’s Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Among the findings of the inaugural summit held in Cape in November 2016 were that Africa’s cities are facing an urban ‘polycrisis’ and that there is a need for a new urban agenda and an opportunity for innovative solutions to address the challenges of urbanisation.
The summit further noted that Africa has to adopt new development models designed to take advantage of urbanisation by facilitating structural transformation, creating jobs and addressing social inequality and poverty, while creating sustainable human settlements with equal opportunity for all.
Saying the future of Africa depends on how cities are managed and the way they choose to contribute to African unity, the more than 300 experts gathered in Cape Town stressed that “Innovative thinking must be part of the solutions for urbanisation challenges and partnerships between the public and private sectors play an important role” and that “Merely pursuing low-density low-cost housing on the outskirts of the cities is not an option.”
They concurred that careful, complex, thorough administrative management and pro-poor urban development–not design plans based on fantasy Dubai-esque city makeovers–is what will turn African cities into sustainable world-class cities.
Benjamin Jones, Event Manager of African Real Estate & Infrastructure Summit, says growth in Africa’s urban population is over the next 20 years going to increase the demand for more infrastructure such as transport, housing, hospitals and schools.
“To meet this ongoing demand,” Jones says, “public and private sector stakeholders will need to adapt their strategies to develop and fund projects that will need to meet the specific demands and challenges of African cities.”