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RISE Africa brings together thinkers, doers and enablers to inspire action for sustainable cities

RISE Africa Discussion Series
Development on the edge: Can we bring affordability and social capital to the core of developing African cities?
by Heba Khalil, Cairo University
Inclusiveness in African cities has different facets that require an in-depth understanding. As an urban planner working in Egypt, I explore informal urbanism within various urban contexts around the country advocating for participatory development. What makes this urbanism unique and widely attractive is the affordable livelihood it provides. Throughout my years of practice and teaching, I investigated affordability and social capital as the backbone of informal areas. The produced physical environment in such areas is just a manifestation of social capital flow without which households are seriously vulnerable. With this understanding, it is vital to acknowledge these assets and act accordingly: trying to improve liveability within existing informal areas. It is naïve to think we can eradicate urban informality in African cities and relocate people into new housing projects that do not consider the whole livelihood beyond providing a living space. At the same time, it is not enough that we provide or improve services in existing informal areas while leaving them subject to the current spatial divide. If African cities pursue an inclusive future for their dwellers, they would surely need to curtail barriers and edges between formal and informal parts of the city, ensuring connectivity, integration, and co-benefits.
THEME: Supporting urban informality for inclusive
African cities 

COMING UP | Are you ready for #AfricanMobilityMonth?


Transforming our mobility systems has become ever more important for creating equitable and sustainable urban environments in ways that contribute to global imperatives outlined by the SDGs and Paris Agreement.

#AfricanMobilityMonth, convened by ICLEI Africa and partners, brings together urban mobility actors who are passionate about developing mobility systems that support the needs of all urban residents while reducing our cities’ environmental impacts.


The annual campaign, this year from  17 September to 17 October 2021, aims to mobilise a strong collective effort for #TransformingUrbanMobility, and needs your participation!


How to participate:

Share recent reports, research papers, case stories, facts, stats, strategies or policies that you feel push the boundaries for African urban mobility using #AfricanMobilityMonth

Show us how you or your city are #TransformingUrbanMobility: snap a picture of your city’s new bicycle lane, your carpool to work, a car-free day, new train route, spatial plan, etc...

Participate in events, talks and discussions scheduled throughout the month. Visit the AfricanMobilityMonth website and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay updated.

Celebrate the people and organisations pushing forward sustainable mobility in Africa. Tag any organisations or companies promoting road safety, cycling or low carbon mobility, or more!

Mobilise your networks to join the campaign and use #AfricanMobilityMonth




21 September 2021 | 2pm CAT
Future-proofing urban mobility: Exploring routes to resilience

We are proud to be partnering with JPI-Urban Europe and START on a 3-part workshop series entitled:
Driving Urban Transition towards Sustainable and Just Futures in Africa
22 September 2021
14:30 - 18:30 CAT
Join us for part 1:
Pathways towards 15-Minute Cities in African Urban Area
Parts 2 and 3 will explore circular African cities and low-emission precincts - dates to be announced
What happened last month?

Launching ACE Africa, a new CE in Africa discussion series, and exploring what #CircularityIs…
“We know that there is no other option but to move to a circular economy. And the early mover innovators and investors can benefit from this shift.” ~ Marko Saarinen, Embassy of Finland in South Africa

A transition to a circular economy is ever more urgent in Africa given the dire warnings heralded in the latest IPCC report, and the continued pressures of rapid urbanisation faced across the continent. With increased interest in managing and adding value to their resources, local and national governments across the continent have started adopting circularity language into their systems and processes, mainly through sustainable public procurement and waste management. Despite this promising interest in the concept, there remains limited understanding of how to effectively implement of the circular economy. Cities, communities and businesses have a key role to play in supporting the transition to a circular economy. In order to support the transition, these stakeholders need to be empowered to adopt circular economy principles and practices across all sectors, with the right tools and instruments. ICLEI Africa and partners are working to demystify circular economy, with three latest developments:
The Accelerating Circular Economy in Africa (ACE Africa) Project was officially launched this month. This project seeks to accelerate circular economy innovation and co-creation in the intersecting areas of food, health and climate change in Africa. This is intended to be achieved by guiding entrepreneurs and new start-ups through an incubation programme and providing a platform for exposure to, and interaction with, mature circular economy businesses, funders and government officers through a series of action and learning exchanges. To learn more, watch the 1-hour Launch Apply to be an ACE Africa Entrepreneur
In partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, University of Lagos and Chatham House, we are proud to share the first 4 instalments of the Circular Economy in Africa: Opportunities and Examples discussion series, which reflect on circularity in Automotives, Fashion and Textiles, Food and Agriculture and Electronics and e-waste sectors. Stay ready for the next four inputs on Policy, Finance, Built Environment and Plastics.
As part of ACE Africa, the #CircularityIs… campaign, run through August, shared a catalogue of circular business approaches, which start-ups can adopt as business strategies or incorporate into their existing business model. Waste management is one of the easiest early steps that can be taken towards circular economy action, but the circular economy is wider than waste management and recycling. The catalogue shares various examples of actions based on the principles of reuse, redesign, regenerate, rethink and reduce that serve as inspiration. 



RISE Africa, brought to you by ICLEI Africa, with support from our partners: 

Our Future Cities, African Centre for Cities, NRF, South African Cities network, African Circular Economy Network, Djouman, The Nature of Cities, IIED, WWF, AU Youth Envoy


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