The programme manager, Charles Patsika, participated in a Round-Table Discussion hosted by the Uongozi Institute in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on 19 and 20 February 2015.
The objectives of the round table were:
- −To enhance understanding and appreciation of the urgency of responding to the challenges of rapid urbanisation and urban development facing the region;
- −To paint a picture of what inclusive, sustainable African cities would look like;
- −To identify the top priorities and key ingredients of progress.
The Themes of discussion centred on taking stock of the current challenges and opportunities, imagining our future cities and focusing on how we could contribute to shaping our urban futures.
While the rapid urban population growth and the imminent ramifications of slum growth were real, the round-table nevertheless observed that there were also opportunities that could be realised if the process were well managed. Urban population growth provided opportunities for economic development as high population concentrations could generate more production and business activities. However, African cities had to ‘think outside the box’ to foster creativity and allow innovative practices for conducting business as well as providing services especially the provision of decent and affordable accommodation and other basic services for the urban poor, a cohort that is expected to grow dramatically.
The UCLG Africa has expressed its concerns regarding the preparedness of local governments to manage the urbanisation process on the backdrop of rapid population growth and is taking steps to introduce projects to address this challenge. The UCLG Africa is actively promoting the organisation of an African Urban Forum that will address these issues as well as the establishment of an African ‘think tank’ that will analyse challenges and rationally develop solutions for the African context.