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The Road to Sustainable cities in Africa

Rachid Ennassiri is one of the 16 young leaders selected this year to attend the EDD Young Leader programme. He will speak in a high level panel under the topic “harnessing opportunities for climate change adaptation and mitigation in african cities”. According to him “EDD 17 is an opportunity to act for the preservation of our planet”…

One of the main objectives of sustainable development is to design and improve future cities that provide equal opportunities for all citizens without expectations, primarily including access to basic services, such clean water, energy, housing and transport.

This article proposes requirements of the urban environment in Africa through the most relevant themes to measure the level of development of an African country; generally the future sustainability of African cities requires and needs a determined will and good planning, on the local, regional, national and international plan.

According to the United Nations,

  • Africa will have around 1.2 billion urban populations by 2050, against a little more than 450 million today;

  • With regard to sub-Saharan African cities, they must prepare themselves to receive more than 300 million additional inhabitants in the next 20 years.

The continent is already confronted with the social, economical and environmental challenges linked to urban growth and the sure need for every African country to prepare a sustainable urban future in the cities; today alertly African cities are in front to predict the environmental protection flap in the specifications for any new investment. The European Union is a partner of Africa in this direction by funding many projects mainly Covenant of Mayors for climate and energy, CES-MED project, as an example implemented by Human Dynamics Consortium. This project directly provides specialized assistance and training to 23 local authorities and the exchange of practices for the development of plans and strategies to solve problems in renewable energy, energy efficiency, water management, waste, public transport, mobility, and sustainable urban planning.

In Morocco, recently with his return to the African Union, the national energetic strategy is increasingly consolidated with implementation of various projects, to quote the largest solar station NOOR in Ouarzazate city situated in south east of Morocco, currently being implemented on other 5 future cities. The NOOR project will ensure 20 % of Morocco’s primary energy by 2030, an integrated project for a sustainable social and economic growth. The vision of the country will be enriched by other sustainable projects that will be implemented in future tense.

Today, as proved by many studies, poverty and rapid urbanization are two of the main challenges facing Africa. Consequently, African governments and institutions in partnership with international community have to bring the needed changes to make these cities healthier, more productive, inclusive and equitable, and better able to meet people’s needs.

To summarize, to build sustainable cities in Africa, we propose many solutions to government, including:

  • Give priority to health and the environment

  • Strengthening the educational sector by integrating sustainable development goals

  • Consolidate the financial funds of scientific and technical research for African youth

  • Strengthening the climate resilience of cities

  • Diversify the targets of awareness-raising campaigns

  • Strengthen territorial governance, participatory governance and integrate the issue of social equity

  • Diversify sources of funding for the construction and operation of the city

  • Strengthen trainings and awareness in mitigation, adaptation, and transverse measures

  • Take in consideration green modes of energy production and increase urban and rural awareness of consumption modes


  • The report description of Cleaner Energy Saving Mediterranean Cities, CES-MED project funded by European Union and implemented by Hulla & Co. Human Dynamics KG, 2-8

  • Moroccan Plan of fighting against climate warming (Novembre 2009), 4-34

  • Fighting climate change Report in Morocco, A commitment of the European Union to the height of the partnership (2017), 4-13

  • Draft concept note about the EDD 2017 high level panel “Harnessing opportunities for climate change adaptation and mitigation in African cities”


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