In Africa, the Paris Agreement in 2015 marked a new era not only for the national governments submitting climate commitments, but also for sub-national governments since two thirds of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted envisage climate action in cities and regions. As almost 80 % of greenhouse gases emanate from urban areas, city governments will be playing an increasingly important role in achieving global energy and climate goals. In Africa in particular, the growth in urban population of almost 800 million inhabitants up to 2050 puts cities at the centre of development planning as energy demand increases, whilst climate change threatens to deepen social urban vulnerabilities. About two thirds of the city landscapes that will house this population have not yet been built. How these urban areas will be constructed will have a fundamental impact on the environmental, and economic growth situation. At a time when cities in Africa are functioning at less than 30 % of the capacity needed to service their citizens, much more effort needs to be put into long-term climate planning backed up with innovative municipal financing to enhance the implementation capacity of municipal governments. Given that about 70 % of the urban population of subSaharan Africa lives in informal settlements and slums, urbanisation can only turn into an opportunity for African cities if stakeholders’ needs are addressed in a participatory process and the relevant actors are placed in the driving seat. This includes sub-national actors such as municipal governments as well as civil society, men and women in informal settlements, academia and the private sector. Authoring this study, the EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility has experience in sustainable energy development since 2004. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) is proud to be both an initiator and main donor of this Facility. Sida supports sustainable cities through different initiatives such as UN-Habitat, which is developing an important joint African approach to urbanisation under the leadership of the African Union; the African Centre for Cities in Cape Town, as well as the Climate and Development Knowledge Network. Furthermore, Sida supported a comprehensive urban assessment in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and is preparing a programme to support the country’s urban policy implementation. The scenario analysis provided in this study shows that megatrends such as population growth, increased energy demand and climate risks will shape the future resilience and development of African cities. The environmental and economic challenges for African cities could be turned into opportunities for development if environmental and smart energy urban planning guide the policy framework at national level and action at city level. To this end, we hope this publication provides a good leadership product with insights and examples.
This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat.