Dates: 11 - 12 December 2014
Conveners: Global Fund for Cities Development, Marrakesh City Council, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa
With 1.3 billion of city dwellers by the year 2030, which will represent more than one African out of two, Africa offers the greatest potential of urbanization worldwide. The 52 metropolitan cities of over one million inhabitants, and the multitude of intermediary cities, abound with unique opportunities for economic innovation and human development to be grasped by all urban stakeholders.
This potential is based specifically on an emerging middle class that should match the one of China by 2020, a growth rate of about 6% per year, and an economic weight estimated at U.S. $ 700 billion (approximately 36% of Africa’s GDP).
However, ensuring that the African cities of tomorrow will be endowed with a secure and attractive economic environment at the national, regional, and international levels implies responding to the needs created by the urban transitions. Those needs revolve around urban infrastructures, appropriate regulatory frameworks, strengthening of urban/ peri-urban/ rural balances, and capacities of planning, management and transparency to secure, in the long term, the necessary investments.
Urbanization will only become an asset if African cities are able to take on the current challenges and anticipate the ones of tomorrow, through the implementation of planning policies, a better access to basic services, the promotion of economic development, employment and integrated economic development, the right to the city for all, the preservation of natural resources, and climate change resilience, among others.
Taking on these challenges requires the mobilization of investments estimated at about U.S. $80 billion per year.
Mobilizing such levels of funding requires the involvement of all stakeholders, both public and private (local governments, people population, national or local public institutions and authorities, the private sector, banks and institutional/ private investors).
The objective of the Conference in Marrakesh is to stimulate exchanges between the diverse stakeholders, in order to go beyond the existing findings and wishes, in order to move towards principles and proposals for actions, as well as commitments.
It will lay a great emphasis on the sharing of questionings and experiences, and on the development of concrete, consistent and adapted responses to African cities, in accordance with the diversity of local contexts.
For the conference organizers (FMDV, Marrakesh City Council and UCLG Africa), the meeting should achieve outstanding progress by:
- Promoting a shared vision of the diagnosis concerning both structure and conditions associated to the financing of African cities
- Encouraging the emergence of strategic alliances in order to offer adequate and sustainable solutions for the financing of African cities, consistently with the socio-political and economic context of the continent, and with due consideration to the international financial environment evolution.
- Suggesting a realistic continental strategy based on the different stakeholders’ commitments to work together implementing the necessary partnerships able to mobilize financing for the African cities; considering the challenges linked to the continent’s rapid urbanization.
- Presenting examples of solutions and best practices in order to inspire other stakeholders;
- Providing a meeting space dedicated to policy makers, provider of operational solutions, and economic/financial leaders, in order to conclude business and financial partnerships.