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African leaders call for investment in smart cities in climatic shocks

The Herald

NAIROBI. – There is a need for governments across Africa to commit additional resources towards the establishment of climate resilient cities, said leaders at the Blue Economy Summit in Nairobi.

The leaders who spoke at a side event for mayors and governors said that appropriate policies and legislation should be enacted to green cities through emissions-free transport, waste recycling and energy-efficient buildings.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said that the realization of sustainable and green future in Africa hinges on the adoption of new technologies to spur urban renewal.

"Our cities are the centers of economic development, job creation and cultural integration and we must build their resilience to resist climate change impacts," remarked Kenyatta.

The governors and mayors' convention that drew a broad cast of participants ranging from municipal leaders, investors and representatives of multilateral lenders sought to spark a new conversation on urban renewal amid the negative impact of population growth and industrialization.

Kenyatta challenged municipal authorities to come up with innovative financing mechanisms to address the challenges associated with rapid urbanization such as pollution, the growth of informal settlements, crime and inadequate access to basic services such as clean water and sanitation.

"We should deploy clean technologies to make our building and transport sectors energy-efficient and collaborate with the private sector to promote waste management and provision of clean water," said President Kenyatta.

Danny Faure, president of Seychelles and African Union's Blue Economy Champion, stressed the need for enhanced government-industry links to renew African cities and make them livable.

The United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) said that an unprecedented rural-urban migration exerts pressure on social amenities like housing, schools, health facilities, water and sanitation in Africa.

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, said that policy and regulatory reforms are needed to facilitate greening of African cities through investments in new building technologies, massive rapid transport and profitable waste recycling ventures.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chair of the African Union Commission (AUC), said that strengthening climate resilience in the continent's rapidly growing cities is an imperative for achieving sustainable development and stability. – Xinhua

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