Building Cities for the Future: An exploration of possibilities for an IBA in Africa

Building Cities for the Future: An exploration of possibilities for an IBA in Africa, a newly launched guide, is the culmination of an exploratory process into the relevance of an Internationale BauAusstellungen or “International Building Exhibition” (IBA) in Africa. ACC together with GIZ embarked on this exploration in 2019 with a series of stakeholder engagement workshops which culminated in a synthesis workshop and ultimately this guide.

For over 100 years, new, innovative solutions to urgent local development challenges have been developed, tested and implemented by IBAs in Germany, and lately also in Europe. In this process, decision-makers commit to producing tangible results. With a given timeframe, their words are ultimately measured against concrete projects. All activities are considered as trials, not proven measures, which creates room for innovation. The IBA format has proven itself also for influencing national urban policies, and it constantly reinvents itself.

A simple transfer of the IBA approach to the Global South is, of course, not possible. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to get to the bottom of its potentials. This has been the goal of the GIZ self-financed “IBA Africa” initiative since 2019 in partnership with the ACC: to explore the opportunities of an IBA in the context of international cooperation, to research applications in urbanising Africa and to formulate recommendations for future projects.

This guide represents a milestone in our work as it summarises key results and findings from the project. The work on a possible IBA in Africa does not end here. But it should be able to build on it in the future and, if possible, enable and promote even more exchange among interested parties.

The hope is that this IBA guide will be both revealing and inspiring to stakeholders and that ideas from this process might make their way into practice.