Africa: First Africa’s New Cities Summit Showcases Ambitious Urbanisation Projects

The first-ever Africa’s New Cities Summit, occurring from November 16-18, brought together industry experts to enhance collaboration within Africa and address the challenges of rapid urbanisation on the continent.

Acting as a forum for dialogue, the summit aimed to discuss, devise solutions for, and maximise opportunities related to urbanisation.

Organised by the Charter Cities Institute in association with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the Africa Infrastructure Development Association (AfIDA), the summit is attracting global experts from various sectors of the international development community.

Participants include developers, builders, government representatives, and academics from Germany, the Caribbean, Tanzania, Nigeria, the United States, Zambia, and more.

After the opening ceremony on November 16, with welcome remarks by Kurtis Lockhart, Executive Director of Charter Cities Institute, and Nelly Mukazayire, Deputy CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, a cluster of upcoming projects participated in New Cities Investment Catapult Presentations. Visionaries and stakeholders judged and questioned presenters as they pitched to the panel.

The CEO of Bank of Kigali, Dr Diane Karusisi, and Kingsley Mbah, Senior Managing Advisor and Capital Markets Specialist at AfrEximBank, were among the panel of judges. So were Oliver Schaper, Design Director and Cities and urban Design Leader at Gensler, and Preston Mendenhall, Executive Vice President and Country Head, Kenya, at Rendeavour.

Among the presentations was Milan Heilmann, the project manager of CPS Africa, who shed light on the Fumba Town development in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Heilmann began his presentation by emphasising the urgency of addressing Africa’s rapid urbanisation. “By the end of the century, Africa is set to host the three largest cities globally: Lagos, Nigeria; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo,” Heilmann said. “These cities are anticipated to each accommodate over 60 million people by 2100, accentuating the critical need for housing solutions.”

CPS Africa’s flagship project, Fumba Town in Zanzibar, aims to tackle this challenge by providing affordable and dignified housing. The project has already made major strides, with more than 600 residential units built in Hobart Town on the west coast of Zanzibar. This effort has generated over 500 jobs, attracted over $85 million in investments, and garnered interest from clients in over 60 countries worldwide. The future vision for Fumba Town includes constructing 5,000 residential units by 2032, creating 4,000 permanent jobs, and reaching an overall project volume of $500 million.

The Enyimba Economic City is positioned as a key player in Nigeria’s economic diversification efforts, aiming to leverage the country’s large market, abundant raw materials, and a young and educated workforce. The economic city is strategically located to serve as a hub for manufacturing, healthcare, education, entertainment, lifestyle interventions, and aviation.

One of the critical aspects highlighted by the Founder and CEO of Crown Realties, Dr Darl Uzu’s presentation, was the importance of securing government support and maintaining stability in the face of political changes.

“There’s a need for a conducive regulatory environment,” Uzu said, highlighting the challenges associated with changes in government.

“Enyimba Economic City aims to host a diverse range of industries, with a current focus on manufacturing. The project has already identified specific sectors, such as electric vehicles and battery production, as areas of interest.”

The project, acknowledged by financial institutions like AfrEximBank, has formed partnerships with international entities and established a financial model in collaboration with Tesla Young. Additionally, it has attracted Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) from China, India, and Indonesia.

Uzu also mentioned Enyimba Economic City’s dedication to addressing climate concerns and emissions. The plans include quantifying the project’s environmental impact and exploring potential financing through carbon credits.

For Craig Clulow, the Kigali Innovation City, a 62-hectare project supported by the Rwanda Development Board and Africa 50, is committed to creating an integrated mixed-use technology and innovation centre.

“At present, KIC’s strategic focus is on technology and innovation, with an emphasis on the creation of a cooperative and cohesive environment,” the CEO said during his presentation.

The project, he continued, “boasts partnerships with various stakeholders, including McKinsey, Savannah Durong, and financial institutions like Qatar National Bank and Nedbank.”

KIC has attracted global institutions like Carnegie Mellon University Africa, African Leadership University, and the University of Rwanda Biomedical Science, making it a unique hub for technological innovation education.

He also touched on sustainability, with KIC aiming for LEED Gold certification for its projects and demonstrating commitment to eco-friendly practices.

“Projects like the vaccine manufacturing plant and a pan-African internet exchange provider, PAX, have added to the diverse ecosystem KIC is building,” Clulow concluded.

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