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Join us as we explore the RISE Africa themes over the next few months through the RISE Africa Roadmap of online engagements, shared resources, webinars and video provocations. Together, we will build momentum for the RISE Africa Summit in May 2021

“The circular economy should be working more through the lens of social justice, looking more into the quality of life and for inclusive development.”

~ Heba Khalil, Professor of Sustainable Urbanism, Cairo University


Three things to do right now
#AfricanCITYFOODMonth Event Report
#AfricanCITYFOODMonth is a platform to support cross-sector, multi-stakeholder engagements and knowledge sharing about urban food systems. The platform recognises that food can be a powerful lever for solving many of our cities’ problems. Using food as an entry-point in Africa, we can support daily nutrition and wellbeing for millions of urban dwellers, regenerate ecosystems, connect our citizens to each other, mitigate, and adapt to, a rapidly intensifying climate crisis, end the injustice of malnutrition, celebrate local food cultures and improve economic participation.

This report shares key ideas and actions shared by many food system actors in the inaugural #AfricanCITYFOODMonth 2020
Explore the Hidden Flows virtual exhibition
This month, ICLEI Africa and partners launched the Hidden Flows online photography exhibition. The much-anticipated exhibition showcases urban resource flows and the processes and people who play a vital role in sustaining our cities, but who are often overlooked or ‘rendered invisible.’

The exhibition includes the work of 5 phenomenal African photographers, each exploring resource flows in their city, and photographs from the #hiddenflows Instagram competition shortlists.
Register for the last RISE Africa webinar of the year
Our Nature, Our Cities:
A One Health Perspective on Urban Public Space.

1 December 2020, 2-3:30pm CAT
One Health is emerging as a concept that connects Animal, Human and Environmental Health through the ideas of shared space and codependence. This is particularly relevant in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has brought the question of distance, shared environment and public health. This webinar reflects on what a One Health perspective can offer to reshaping public space in our cities..


What happened last month?

November focused on Circular Development 

RISE Africa @ LoCS4Africa Virtual Congress

All together now: Mobilising public resources for integrated infrastructure solutions
Environmental challenges and the impact of climate change on urban areas require shared solutions built on multi-stakeholder collaboration and all-of-society approaches. Considering resources such as food, water and energy as connected, and applying a Nexus lens can support cross-sectoral collaboration and integrated urban solutions. Many African cities grapple with funding urban infrastructure; therefore finding mechanisms to drive integration can enable cross-governmental and interdepartmental pooling of resources. Several approaches include:
  • Broadening opportunities for city learning to increase the opportunities for integration;
  • Delinking revenue from resource consumption to support continued maintenance of the system;
  • Establishing a shared fund for optimal infrastructure management and operations;
  • Empowering local communities, focusing on women and youth, with tailored financial tools and providing access to loans;
  • Introducing fiscal front-loading as a way to support local governments to implement large capital infrastructure projects, without the constraints of annual budget cycles.

To find out more detail about these innovative finance and governance mechanisms for integrated infrastructure solutions, watch the session here.

Getting down to business: Enabling private sector leadership in the circular economy
Circular economy is gaining traction as a practical means to increase resource efficiency and change unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. It drives the stimulation of climate-friendly, environmentally regenerative and resource productive markets and can play a role in the creation of jobs. In Africa, the private sector and entrepreneurs are leading the transformation to circular solutions in industries such as integrated waste management and recovery, sustainable agricultural practices and the remanufacturing and repurposing of materials. However, these many initiatives are relatively disconnected, lacking a coordinated approach and facing difficulties in accessing finance for research and development, scaling-up, or spreading the business. Start-ups lack the necessary technical support, resources and funding to grow and reach maturity making them high investment risks for potential funders. These funders typically focus on large infrastructural grants and are still working on development of small grants to support small business. Local and sub-national governments can play a strong role in promoting the circular economy by developing a shared vision for circular approaches. If coupled with enabling programmes that channel development funding that can support derisk and scaling, businesses can support collective climate action and sustainable urban environments at the local level. To learn more about supporting circular businesses through innovative finance, watch the session here.
Localising the SDGs through an urban food lens in the Global South: Lessons from the Hungry Cities Project
To address food insecurity in African cities, there is an urgent need to embed a systems perspective within local governance and for more transversal work by local governments.

This 2-day event, convened by the African Centre for Cities, Balsillie School of International Affairs and ICLEI Africa highlighted the importance of focusing on people’s everyday lives, their capability to meet their own food needs, as well as the nexus between food and cities. Speakers noted that more work needs to be done to put the urban food system on the front burner. Food in the context of cities is neglected in the SDGs, yet a significant number of food insecure people are found in cities. The most significant demand for food in Africa in the future will be from the increasing urban areas.
The sessions showcased the works of the Hungry Cities Partnership, a collaborative research project involving eight countries, that has produced a wealth of knowledge and understanding, that reinforces the multiple and complex interactions between rapid urbanization, poverty and food security. Explore the Hungry Cities Partnership resources here, and revisit the recordings of Day 1 or Day 2.
Speakers advocated for increased dialogue among stakeholders in order to navigate the diverse tensions and interests within cities’ food systems. Credible data, research and monitoring, transversal and collaborative governance, food sensitive programming, strategic alliance and cooperation, and localization and mainstreaming are the key catalysts for food system transformation, and for achieving the SDGs.


Realising Opportunities for the Circular Economy in African Cities - A World Circular Economy Side Event
"This paper will give a benchmark to see where Africa is in the global transformation to a circular economy, and what is required to fast track that transformation.” 

~ Bezawit Gizaw, Ethiopia Country Representative (ACEN)

ICLEI Africa and the African Circular Economy Network convened a workshop to unpack the concept of urban circular economy for Africa by Africa. The workshop presented key arguments of a draft discussion paper, written collaboratively by co-authors from across the continent. To accompany the relatively universal principles and strategies of circular economy, the draft paper provides a set of key considerations for how these principles should be implemented in African cities:

  1. Collaboration and appreciative co-learning: tapping into the wealth of global circular economy knowledge.
  2. Linking circular strategies with existing service delivery mandates to reduce poverty and improve economic participation in sustainable manners.
  3. Adopting a social justice framework to implement social economy principles: Ensuring that new approaches align with contextual elements such as jobs that are created or lost, as well as acknowledging existing valuable services or material value chains.
  4. Acknowledging and supporting existing indigenous and traditional practices which already contribute to ecological regeneration, sharing, and the maintenance of material or service value.
  5. Investing in natural regeneration that can be done hand-in-hand with green infrastructure approaches to reduce the expense and material outlay of built infrastructure.
  6. Ensuring alignment of governance frameworks with the circular economy principles and local government priorities to create enabling environments.
  7. Improving access to finance for young innovators and established entrepreneurs, small businesses, and large scale infrastructure projects.

Workshop discussants highlighted the importance of contextualising the circular economy to uplift youth and understand the specificities of African cities - particularly the role of informality and adopting a social justice lens to develop circular economies that are inclusive and that lead to improved quality of life. Read the draft discussion paper here, share your thoughts in this survey, and watch the workshop recording for further insights.

"We have exhausted all land for final disposal sites. If we do not invest in moving up the ladder of the waste hierarchy, we will run into problems. We intend to do this by leveraging on the production of core compost and agriculture, by doing so we will close the loop on organic waste.” 

~ Solomon Noi-Adzeman, Director: Waste Management, Accra Municipal Assembly


October winners

The RISEAfrica Annual Photography Competition has had numerous compelling submissions to this year’s theme: #hiddenflows.

October marks the culmination of the competition, and explored how #energy moves through our cities, the sources of energy available, how people access these, and supports livelihoods. The Winners and finalists are shown here.

Follow @futureafricancities to see all submissions, or see the online exhibition.


WINNER - @petermiyalu

Kinshasa, DRC
Cell Cabin

FINALIST - @dianamotsi

Harare, Zimbabwe
Gas me up

FINALIST - @naibishotit

Kampala, Uganda.
Steven makes and sells briquettes for a living in Banda, Kampala.

Briquettes are becoming an alternative for charcoal to some urban dwellers because they last long and cook for an extended period compared to charcoal.

Visit the online hidden flows exhibition

 The hidden flows online exhibition draws attention to resources flows and people who are part of an urban system that contributes to, and determines, many facets of urban life, such as social and community interactions, livelihood and income generation, gender equality and urban-environmental challenges such as flooding, pollution or economic exclusion. The exhibition includes the work of 5 phenomenal African photographers, each exploring resource flows in their city, and photographs from the #hiddenflows Instagram competition shortlists.

Watch the exhibition launch in which we converse with the photographers and project coordinators here. Explore the full exhibition here.

RISE Africa Roadmap to 2021


Coming Up

Our Nature, Our Cities: A One Health Perspective on Urban Public Space

1 December 2020, 2 Central African Time

One Health is emerging as a concept that connects Animal, Human and Environmental Health through the ideas of shared space and codependence. This is particularly relevant in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has brought the question of distance, shared environment and public health. This webinar reflects on what a One Health perspective can offer to reshaping public space in our cities. It will present some varied provocations for rethinking public open space design and incorporating nature and greenery in urban development to support liveability, public safety and wellbeing. These include developing public foodways, centering mental wellbeing through tacit interaction and valorising access to nature among competing urban development priorities.

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

African Centre for Cities, NRF, South African Cities network, African Circular Economy Network, Djouman, The Nature of Cities, IIED, GSB-AGC, WWF, Tores Foundation, Covenant of Mayors SSA, AU Youth Envoy


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