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African Leaders Converge on Lagos May 30th to Discuss Urbanization

By on May 22, 2012

Economist Conferences, one of the world’s leading event providers and organisers of the Future Cities conference, is rallying leaders and policymakers from across Africa to a forum discussing new ways to tackle pressing issues of urbanisation.


This year’s conference, taking place on May 30th – 31st in Lagos, Nigeria, will provide a platform for 150 senior level participants to debate challenging questions around managing, designing and financing the continent’s cities and discuss the future of Africa’s urban transformation with an international group of experts. Six mayors are confirmed to participate, including the leaders of Lagos State, Johannesburg, Harare, Cape Town and Dar Es Salaam.


“Urbanisation is happening faster in Africa than anywhere else in the world – by 2050, 60% of Africans will be city-dwellers. Our Future Cities summit will feature those managing, designing, planning and financing Africa’s most innovative cities, as well as leading authorities in urban planning, construction, transport, energy, architecture and sustainability.” says Marianne Mazou, Conferences Director, MEA, at The Economist Group.


“Urban development has been haphazard, fragmented and characterised by a lack of long-term strategic planning and incoherent investments. For Africa’s expanding cities to function in the future, policymakers need new, innovative approaches to urban development, infrastructure, environmental issues, transportation, social services and housing. This is what our Future Cities summit is going to provide,” she continued.


“Joining up urban development policies with mobility strategies at an institutional level, and putting in place sustainable transport services and quality infrastructure are key to managing Africa’s urban transformation towards economic viability and growth.” says Ousmane Thiam,President, International Association of Public Transport (UITP) and President, Conseil Exécutif des Transports Urbains de Dakar (CETUD). “I look forward to exchanging with high-level policymakers and professionals from across the African continent on how to achieve a public transport network which is efficiently and effectively linking economic activities and people.“


Other topics to be discussed include Africa’s greenest cities; how smart cities and the use of innovative technologies has the potential to transform the city landscape; and the role of the informal economy.


“Africa’s dynamic cities have a chance to forge a new kind of urbanism – if they harness the entrepreneurial energies of their citizens. It’s exciting to have so many of the continent’s urban leaders in one room.” says Robert Neuwirth, Author of Stealth of Nations and Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, A New Urban World.


Sustainable urban development will be showcased in action, with participants having the opportunity to visit the site of Eko Atlantic City on day two. “By reclaiming nine million square metres of land from the Atlantic ocean we are generating enough space now to build a 21st century city for the future. says David Frame, Managing Director of Eko Atlantic. “Our participation in The Economist’s Future Cities Conference enables us to join an important debate on the urbanisation of Africa at the highest level.”


The 2012 Future Cities Conference, themed ‘Managing Africa’s urban transformation’, will feature leaders from government, industry and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) including Babatunde Fashola, Executive Governor of Lagos State; Parks Tau, Executive Mayor of Johannesburg; Patricia de Lille, Executive Mayor of Cape Town; Didas Massaburi, Mayor of Dar Es Salaam; Muchadeyi Masunda, Mayor of Harare; and Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties, one of the world’s largest real estate companies.


Other prominent speakers include David Adjaye OBE, an award-winning, internationally renowned architect; Dayo Mobereola, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA); Arnold Meyer, Head of Real Estate (Africa) of the Renaissance Group; and Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, Country Director, Nigeria of the World Bank.


The summit is organised by Economist Conferences and sponsored by Eko Atlantic, ABB, Renaissance Group, Dar Group, Siemens and The Infrastructure Bank.