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Adesina Tasks Leaders On Transformation Of African Cities


(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has harped on the need for African leaders to take concrete steps and intensify efforts geared toward the transformation of cities across the continent.

Dr. Adesina gave the charge while speaking at the inaugural forum of the ongoing African Mayoral Leadership Initiative (AMALI), holding in Cape Town, South Africa.

AMALI is a partnership between the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town and Big Win Philanthropy.

The forum which seeks to catalyse the transformation of cities in Africa by providing tailored support to city leaders, is a veritable platform for the mayors of African cities to brainstorm and share their experience. No fewer than 15 mayors of African cities are attendance at the forum.

“The Africa we want must be one where our cities are well planned to become drivers of greater economic growth and prosperity for Africa. This cannot happen by chance. The future is not created by a roll of the dice. So let us act to transform Africa’s cities”, he said.

By 2050, the number of people living in African cities is expected to double from about 600 million to 1.2 billion, representing the most rapid rate of urbanisation in the world. This poses significant development challenges, which will require innovative, African-led solutions.

He also provided highlights of how city leaders, supported by national governments, can rapidly transform urban development on the continent, in sustainable ways.

The bank chief also assured the mayors of AfDB’s support to creatively and sustainably transform their cities, adding that there is need to provide greater autonomy and fiscal responsibility to cities and towns and for national governments to allow them to raise financing to meet the huge needs of development.

“Instead of simply depending more on transfers from national governments, cities and towns should build their institutional capacity to raise their own financing”, he added.



Dr. Adesina noted the critical role that initiatives like AMALI can play in sharing best practices across cities and helping leaders overcome the challenges that urbanisation poses.

He equally harped on the bank’s commitment to working with city leaders to transform their cities, noting that, on average, the AfDB’s Board approves more than $2 billion per year for projects and programs that have a direct positive impact on urban areas across Africa.

The Bank’s support includes the establishment of an Urban and Municipal Development Fund to provide technical assistance and capacity building for integrated urban planning, governance, project preparation, and broader urban management, including municipal fiscal management.

In addition, the Fund also provides support in more than 15 cities, to help improve the lives of millions of urban residents.

Similarly, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs of South Africa, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma urged African city leaders to always put people first.

The minister also noted that in order to reduce urban migration, African countries must invest in rural areas and small towns. She equally encouraged African countries to prioritise the skills revolution, citing the African continent’s skills gap as a barrier to development.

Also in his remarks, the Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, highlighted strategic ways in which regional and national governments can support mayors to transform their cities, creating impact that extends well beyond the city limits.

“I believe in decentralisation. I believe, where possible, it gives local authorities the power to dream big, to have visions, and to move forward into the future. Let us, at national levels and provincial levels, empower and enable local authorities and cities, because it’s cities that are going to be growing out of proportion over the next 50 and 100 years”, he stressed.


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