Cities Alliance think tank: Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi on the role of urbanisation in Africa

Damaged statue of drummer in front of construction site in Dakar, Senegal.

Agenda 2063—The Africa We Want is a flagship campaign of the African Union. This policy argues for using the opportunity offered by urbanisation and the demographic shift to fulfil the vision of an African renaissance. With urbanisation firmly on the agenda across Africa there is a need for a constructive policy dialogue on what exactly urbanisation in Africa might mean. To support such a process the Cities Alliance secretariat has awarded a grant to the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town to establish an independent think tank dedicated to this issue.

“A new narrative is needed for African cities that is not romantic but realistic. An African city is not a European city, a city should be embedded in its society.” – Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi

In this video Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi the Secretary-General of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG) talks about the challenges African countries face as they rapidly urbanise. He raises the issue that many decision makers still do not see the positive opportunities for development that cities offer. To address this a paradigm shift will be needed rather than the present focus on the negative aspects of urbanisation. The role of grassroots practices, Pan African institutions and local government leadership are all highlighted in shaping the future of Africa alongside the people themselves.

For more on the Cities Alliance Africa Think Tank read this post.

Photo: Dakar. via flickr user Jeff Attaway

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