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New Climate Economy panel discussion on Smart Africa Cities

Summary of the New Climate Economy panel discussion on Smart Africa Cities, 11 November 2015

Following the release of the New Climate Economy’s recent ground-breaking report: 'Better Growth, Better Cities: Rethinking and Redirecting Urbanisation in Africa', a panel discussion was moderated by Richard Calland, Director of CISL’s Africa Initiative in Johannesburg to consider the challenge of ensuring Africa’s current urbanisation phase results in an 'urban dividend'.

The questions posed to members of the panel focused on the following theme: Do the challenges of climate change and urbanisation provide opportunities for encouraging better urban growth to generate enhanced economic, social, and carbon benefits in Africa’s rapidly expanding cities?

Interviews with panel members


The merits of low carbon service delivery (energy, transport, waste, sanitation and urban form) relative to more conventional development pathways, were debated by the panel.

Some action-orientated outcomes for Smart African Cities emerging from the discussion were:

  • Support African cities to use all their resources to mobilise capacity building for sustainable urban development and smart cities.
  • Create an enabling environment through policies and incentives for individual and private sector innovation and impact investing.
  • Partnerships between communities and civil society to develop sustainability initiatives.
  • Collection of appropriate data from informal settlements to support informed smart city development.  
  • Importance of stakeholder engagement, monitoring and evaluation and timely feedback mechanisms

Watch the full panel discussion (50 minutes).