Africa

African leaders call for investment in smart cities amid climatic shocks

There is a need for governments across Africa to commit additional resources to establish climate resilient cities, leaders said on Tuesday at the ongoing Blue Economy Summit in Nairobi.

The leaders, who spoke at a side event for mayors and governors, stressed that appropriate policies and legislation should be enacted to achieve green cities through emission-free transport, waste recycling and energy-efficient buildings.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said that realisation of sustainable and green future in Africa hinged on adoption of new technologies to spur urban renewal.

“Our cities are the centres of economic development, job creation and cultural integration and we must build their resilience to withstand climate change impacts,” Kenyatta remarked.

The governors and mayors’ convention drew participants ranging from municipal leaders, investors and representatives of multilateral lenders.
It seeks to spark a new conversation on urban renewal amid negative impact of population growth and industrialisation.

Kenyatta challenged municipal authorities to come up with innovative financing mechanisms to address challenges linked to rapid urbanisation.

He said the challenges included pollution, growth of informal settlements, crime and inadequate access to basic services, such as clean water and sanitation.

“We should deploy clean technologies to make our building and transport sectors energy-efficient and collaborate with the private sector to promote waste management and provision of clean water,” said Kenyatta.

Danny Faure, President of Seychelles and AU Blue Economy Champion, stressed the need for enhanced government-industry linkages to renew African cities and make them habitable.

The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) said that an unprecedented rural-urban migration exerts pressure on social amenities like housing, schools, health facilities, water and sanitation in Africa.

Maimunah Sharif, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT said that policy and regulatory reforms were required to facilitate greening of African cities through investments in new building technologies, mass rapid transport and profitable waste recycling ventures.

Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of AU Commission, said that strengthening climate resilience in the continent’s rapidly growing cities was an imperative to achieve sustainable development and stability.

 

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