Building the cities and regions of the future together

In the context of the local and international challenges facing Africa and France, cities are are major focal point.

Africa’s urban population is expected to double to reach 1.2 billion inhabitants by 2050. But as things stand, half of the urban areas that will exist in Africa in 2030 have yet to be built.

Currently, 100 cities on the continent are already home to over 1 million people. Ten of those have 5 million inhabitants, and 23 million people live in Lagos, the largest city in Africa.

The decisions we make now in sustainable urban development must make Africa’s future cities socially inclusive, economically productive, resilient and environmentally friendly. To do so, we must mobilise stakeholders from all sectors: the economy, manufacturing, finance, culture and entertainment, education, health, safety, mobility and urban planning.

Africa is our essential ally, with whom we have laid the foundations of a new partnership.

Emmanuel Macron at the Ambassadors’ Conference, Paris, Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The World Bank Group has estimated that, in order to accommodate its booming urban population, Africa requires investment of US$90 billion in urban infratructure and 4 million new homes every year.

The megacities of the future will significantly change the way things used to be done in the past. They will be “city-states” due to the size of their populations, “global cities” due to the diverse origins of their inhabitants, and “gateway cities” due to their extensive flows of people, ideas, goods, wealth and cultures.

The sustainable city, a crucial challenge

Currently, there are no planning models for these new urban spaces — only sources of inspiration. Designing the sustainable city involves redefining how we live together, because we can only make long-term progress by organising and encouraging cooperation and interdependence between countries and peoples.

That is how our cities will become innovative, create culture, values and prosperity, and foster connections between people and the places they live.

But cities face multiple challenges; they must adapt to climate change (70% of greenhouse gas emissions are produced by urban areas), combat social exclusion, reduce poverty, promote access to education and culture, create jobs and value, make it easy for people to move around, integrate nature and biodiversity, offer new uses and services that improve day-to-day life for inhabitants of all ages, and counter crises of an increasingly serious nature.

Given the importance of creating tomorrow’s cities, and the urgency to take immediate action, the 28th Africa-France Summit must be the most ambitious and productive yet.

Stéphanie Rivoal

Reinventing the city

The decision to make the sustainable city the focus of the 2020 Africa-France Summit is an extraordinary opportunity to discuss successes achieved in cities in France and Africa and lay the groundwork for their future progress for everyone’s mutual benefit.

With over 50 heads of state in attendance, the Summit will have a strong economic and environmental focus.

The fate of our entire world lies in the future of our cities. Manufacturers and innovators must share their vision of how cities should evolve with political decision-makers and local authorities so that solutions can be identified. Cities must be reinvented to be resilient, creative and productive.

At the 2020 Africa-France Summit, the aim is not only to develop a new political collaboration and economic partnerships to share and exchange knowledge, but also new partnerships in other fields, such as healthcare, education, urban planning and culture.