Can Africa leverage on the Bordeaux platform for its sustainable cities?

France’s President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Burkina Faso on November 28, 2017. Courtesy.

Rwanda and other 53 African nations have been invited to attend the Africa-France Summit slated to take place from June 4-6, 2020 in Bordeaux, France.

An estimate of 15,000 participants, including 54 Heads of African states, 600 entrepreneurs, investors, and visitors are expected to meet in the port city of southwestern France.

The summit’s discussions will revolve around the theme ‘Sustainable cities’.

Governments and players in the economic sector will discuss African solutions around the theme echoing the Rwandan vision of access to services, smooth movement in healthy and smart cities.

Rwanda prioritised

During his visit to Burkinafaso in 2017, French President, Emmanuel Macron said the theme was in convergence with Rwanda’s development strategy, according to a press release statement from the French embassy in Kigali. 

Stephan Dubost, the Deputy Secretary-General for the summit who was, last week, on a two-day visit to Rwanda said that; “We choose ‘sustainable cities’ because it is an inclusive theme that currently touches every African country, especially with the urban population growth expected to double by 2050.”

For the first time, the conference will bring together governments as well as private sectors players to discuss and fine-tune solutions to the challenges likely to be occasioned by Africa’s burgeoning cities.

In Kigali, Dubost met Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Private Sector Federation, and the City of Kigali and also established contact with interested private firms.

Although he did not disclose the enterprises that were contacted, he said banks are among the subject of their interest.

At the summit, there will be parallel events such as touring the city of solutions - a replica of a sustainable city in the French commune of Bordeaux.

Concern for urban population growth

UN figures predict a population boom of 2.4 billion in Africa by 2050 from the current 1.1 billion, with 80 per cent of the rise stemming from urban places.

The UN also predicts that the world’s ten fastest-growing cities by 2035 are African, namely Luanda, Yaounde, and Dar es Salaam among others.

Back home, Kigali is ranked among the top five most densely populated cities in Africa with a population density of 1,600 per square km.

Quoted President Paul Kagame, France’s Chargé d’affaires in Rwanda, Jérémie Blin, said that: “African solutions to African problems” to emphasise that France is not dictating what to be done.

“We are going to sit as equals to see how we can help within the African vision.”

editor@newtimesrwanda.com