Currently, Africa is the least urbanised region of the world, with only about 40% of the people in urban settlements. It is, however, considered to be the continent with the fastest rate of urbanisation and last frontier of development. In the next few decades, the population of the African continent is expected to grow to 2.4 billion people, with most of the population increase expected to occur in the cities. As cities are increasing both in size and population, the pressure to address the challenges are becoming more daunting. These challenges include inefficiency and inadequacy, as manifested in: urban sprawl, high incidence of informality, social inclusion, slums and poverty, lack of basic services and infrastructure, dysfunctional land and housing delivery, pollution, environmental degradation, underdeveloped manufacturing sector, unsustainable production and consumption pattern, and inefficient transport systems.
Smart city, as a concept, has both negative and positive connotations. Smart city discourse in the African context has therefore, progressed controversially between the proponents and the critics. On the one hand, smart city is being promoted as an initiative to modernise the built-environment as a better place to live, work and do business. On the other hand, it predicted that the agenda is capable of widening the existing exclusion, marginalisation and spatial economic inequality. Hence this conference which is approximately themed “Africa Smart City Agenda” will unravel the following critical questions among others : Is smart city agenda part of the solutions or part of the problems of African urban development agenda? In the context of the current socio-economic realities, challenges and opportunities how should African smart city agenda be conceptualised, designed, created, financed, implemented and managed? How can institutions, policies and governance mechanisms promote the development of inclusive, sustainable and resilient smart cities?
More information on the conference can be found in the conference flyer.
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.