AFRICITIES SUMMIT: Local governments can work magic with Africa's cities and development

Africa’s urbanisation is happening at lower levels of income and with far less investment in infrastructure than in other parts of the world.

AS AFRICA engages with its future and the empowerment of its people at grassroots level, the Africities Summit to be held in Johannesburg, South Afriaca, Nov. 29-Dec. 3, will scrutinise how local governments can become an important agent to ignite Africa’s possibilities.

With just three weeks until the Summit, Johannesburg has designed the Africities summit in such a way to link up with Johannesburg’s thinking on the long-term future of African local government issues.

The pace of urbanisation in Africa is unrivalled globally. But Africa’s urbanisation is happening at lower levels of income and with far less investment in infrastructure than in other parts of the world.

Rapid urban growth at early stages of development has meant that people have been concentrating in urban areas without the accompanying investment to reap the expected economic benefits of agglomeration. And governments have been less able to manage negative externalities.

The theme for Africities Summit, “Shaping the Future of Africa’s People” means that people-driven solutions should be the central tenet of African development.

Planning should aim to reduce sprawl, enhance densification and prevent development in environmentally precarious zones.

This Africities Summit 7 is strategically relevant as local governments will learn from each other and define a new urban agenda.

The freshly updated ‘Agenda 2063’, discussed at the recent AU summit in June, sends a strong message of the Africa envisioned in the future. It spurs all of Africa’s people to play an active role to ensure a positive socio- economic transformation of Africa within the fifty years ahead.

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