Date: Monday 21st January, 2013
Venue: Clifford Chance, 10 Upper Bank Street, E14 5JJ
Time: Registration begins at 6:30 p.m. Event runs from 6:45 – 9:00 p.m.
Moderator | Lanre Akinola | Editor, This is Africa magazine.
Synopsis:The rapid urbanization of African cities is no longer news. By 2050, over half of the continent’s population will reside in its urban spaces. What remains to be seen is how regional and national governments will respond to the greater pull exerted on already stretched resources and infrastructure. All over Africa, there are new enclave cities being built for the growing middle class and the wealthy in places like Lagos, Accra and Nairobi. What are the consequences of ignoring their margins and the parallel growth of impoverished communes? How do we ensure the best use of local resources and foreign direct investment without exacerbating existing inequalities and further dislocating the poor? Can we harness our traditional forms of organizations to counter exclusion in the decisions and processes shaping our cities?
As African communities seek to address these questions, evolving ideas on democracy, identity and citizenship inevitably abound. For instance, to whom does the city belong and how is that ownership expressed? Their answers are partly reflected in emerging industries of innovation and digital enterprises, strengthened financial services and cultural production – the new homegrown software servicing Africa’s development. How can African cities capitalize on their potent (r)evolutionary momentum? What are the best institutional mechanisms to harness this in ways that reflect local aspirations and realities?
With growing urban consciousness and resilience, we have never been better placed to take ownership of our meanings, agendas and provide alternative narratives of our cities. While our urban spaces already afford a repository of memory – of neglect, adaptation and intent – much more is needed to translate this knowledge into targeted directives.
Join us as we engage with a panel of experts constituting the most daring and innovative thinkers on African cities and societies, in a discussion on contemporary solutions to a new century’s challenges and opportunities.