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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.
“Our cities are the manifestation of our imaginations, relationships and life experiences – we make our cities.
To make them inclusive, resilient, and restorative, it is up to us to reclaim African urban narratives. We need to boldly contribute our stories, ideas, expectations and actions. Only this way will we own and influence the future of our cities”.

~ Kobie Brand, Regional Director: ICLEI Africa

Announcing RISE Africa 2021 Action Festival

24-28 May 2021 

A celebration of FUTURE possibilities for African cities. An exploration of novel IDEAS that are already influencing our practice. And commitment to ACTIONS that we need to take now to shape our cities into inviting, connected, and regenerative homes.

Submit your proposals for sessions at RISE Africa Action Festival.
These can align with any of the themes on the right, and propose creative and engaging approaches.
Dialogue & Performance Sessions: panel discussions, 1-1 dialogues or interviews and artistic performances

Action Sessions: workshop-style sessions which aim to develop an idea, draw people together (matchmaking), produce something, produce a piece of art or creative output, or launch a programme or initiative…

Trainings: training sessions on a specific idea, concept or methodology

Field Trips or Tours: Show us your city or project, by taking participants on a trip

Provocation: a 3 to 6 minute pre-recorded talk that aims to provoke viewers with a new idea, or a way of doing things.

RISE Africa Themes

Africa is the 21st century changemaker global outcomes of sustainable urban development

Our urban continent exploring AU Agenda 2063
Covid-19 in the City how a global pandemic realigns our priorities and visions for the future
Facilitate and demonstrate the role of local government in shaping collaborative movements
Smarter cities for empowered citizens behavioural science for wellbeing
Climate crisis and our cities embracing a new normal of uncertainty
Urban intelligence for the discerning decision maker using sound data and evidence
Looping our cities into the global circular economy key principles for urban resource management
Good development is good business private sector roles in urban wellbeing
African wisdom in the digital present traditional knowledge for modern living
Shaping and owning urban African narratives using media, art and literature to rewrite the African city
Our nature, our city enhancing the benefits of urban ecosystem services
Bouncing forward crafting resilient societies
Financing the future [of our cities] unlocking investment for transformative infrastructures and services
Collaborate Create Celebrate promoting our individual and collective actions


What happened last month? 

Putting People First: A reflection on people-centred development for African cities

The city is a product of its people just as the city supports its people

In this decade of Action, as we strive to achieve Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, while grappling with health, socio-economic and environmental crises, we must place people at the forefront of our agendas for African urban growth and development. If we recognise that people make and shape their cities, and play a vital role in creating opportunities and affecting environmental sustainability, we understand that by investing in people, we are investing in sustainable cities.

Rapidly growing urban areas in Africa provide strategic opportunities for developing and testing out the processes and tools required to achieve an inclusive and just continent. Therefore, it is important that city officials and sustainability practitioners reflect upon these key questions: How can African cities grow and develop in ways that are expressive of their people? How can our cities engage diversity, being supportive of the needs, aspirations, cultures and hopes of different people? How do we create cities that inspire and enable prosperity, for all their people, taking into account their livelihoods, health and wellbeing, as well as environmental regeneration? How do we support social and economic development in ways that safeguard the planet?

Local and regional governments can pursue the processes that support inclusive development for all and safeguard the natural support systems for ecological and human wellbeing by prioritising some of the following actions: 

Engaging in participatory governance: Participatory processes should go beyond consultations and surrender to a process that may have unexpected but valuable outcomes. Strong, stable and democratic institutions are vital to building the systems that enable participatory governance and checking injustices.
Promoting dignified urban livelihoods for all: Policies and regulations can remove constraints and put in place conditions that enhance the creation of decent and sustainable livelihoods for all.
Supporting citizens aspirations and city growth within planetary boundaries: Planning and building cities using a lifecycle perspective and for accessible low-carbon lifestyles can promote health and wellbeing as well sustainable living.
Actively pursuing development for people: Including people-centred targets and key performance indicators within action plans and municipal reporting can enable clear monitoring, measuring and evaluation of success in achieving social development goals
Celebrating and rebuilding local cultures, values, and norms: Recognising and building different local communities is an important lever for social cohesion as well as recognising importance of social networks that support individuals, households and communities.


Roadmap to RISE Africa 2021 Action Festival


UPCOMING WEBINAR: Roadmap to RISE Africa 2021 Action Festival

Reinventing the smart city: an African way

23 February 2021 – 2-3:30pm Central African Time


The concept of Smart Cities is typically presented as a vision for centralised information, management and automation of urban systems, often sold to local government as a complete solutions package. However, it may be more appropriate as a celebration of how Information Communication Technology (ICT) can empower citizens with knowledge tools that support agency, participation and expression in cities.

Over the past few years, many cities have incorporated smart city principles into their development approaches and agendas. African cities have seen great opportunities to leapfrog into the future through ICT, but continue to grapple with the role that this technology can play in effectively addressing structural socio-economic challenges.

This webinar will present both technical and policy perspectives on implementing smart principles in African cities, and consider how the concept can take appropriately African approaches to promoting equitable resource access, employment creation and creative expression in our cities.




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, Covenant of Mayors SSA, AU Youth Envoy


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