African Real Estate & Infrastructure Summit: Africa’s Cities are Facing an Urban ‘Polycrisis’

UCLG Africa took part in the first “African Real Estate & Infrastructure Summit” as one of the partners of the event held in Cape Town (South Africa), from 2 to 3 December 2016.  More than 300 sectors experts gathered under the theme:”Developing Future Cities”.


The participants highlighted the fact that African 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 urbanisation challenges”, mentioned the press release of the event.

Seven key case studies were showcased on innovative development projects from Cape Town, Johannesburg, Addis Ababa, Kigali, Lusaka, Kampala and the Taparura project in Tunisia.

Alderman Ian Neilson, Executive Deputy Mayor of City of Cape Town reminded the fact that Africa “is the fastest urbanising region in the world, with around 400 million people expected to migrate from rural areas to cities by 2050. As more and more people move to our cities in search of a better life, it is critical that we provide effective and sustainable infrastructure to meet their needs.”

Indeed, “we passionately believe that Africa is a continent of opportunity. With improving economies, rising populations, rapid rates of urbanisation and burgeoning middle classes, some African cities are expected to grow between 70-100% in the next 15 years”, added Mr. Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa.

“The main challenge of the real estate sector on the continent currently is to find approaches to real estate development which are not only for the wealthy, and which find architectural and planning approaches which are not simplistic ‘cut and pastes’ of cities elsewhere in the world”, explains Prof. Vanessa Watson, of the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, University of Cape Town.

For more details, read the press release of the event here.

Note that, UCLG Africa signed a MoU during the summit with the African Union of Architects  (AUA).