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Geopolitics and Urbanisation in Africa

May 7 @ 9:00 am - 11:30 am

As part of the Great Powers and Urbanisation Project, this seminar, by focusing on cities across Africa, explores how different urbanisation challenges and opportunities take on particular inflections due to the relationships between local, regional and international scales on the continent. The workshop reflects on the tremendous need and opportunity for cities to engage in geopolitical processes, along with a series of challenges that need to be both acknowledged and addressed.


09.00 SAST Introductory Remarks – Ian Klaus

09.10 SAST SESSION 1: Possibilities for Regional Innovation and the Future of Cities

MODERATOR: Andrew Tucker

This session explores how, by drawing on wider new and existing regional and international frameworks, it becomes possible to imagine city futures that address the particular needs of urban citizens in African cities. It asks us to reflect on the particular state of urbanisation across Africa, and to consider how sustainable urban development will require concerted effort across a number of scales.

• The Possibilities and Imperatives for Regional Urban Innovation Platforms – Edgar Pieterse

• Decolonizing African Urban Futures: Reframing imaginations and tensions across local and global institutions – Geci Karuri-Sebina

09.50 SAST Session Discussion

10.20 SAST SESSION 2: Reflections on Urban Sectorial Challenges and Opportunities

MODERATOR: Gareth Haysom

This session explores how effective strategies to improve urban health, articulate and enable effective urban finance systems and processes, and address climate change in Africa must be read in relation to multi-scalar governance and international agendas. Particular attention will also be paid to issues such as distrust and power imbalances across scales, and the differential power and reach of various international organisations. As such, the realities and enormity of urbanisation challenges across Africa means that any ‘top down’ intervention not only requires careful and bespoke translation but must also continually iterate so as not to be at risk of causing harms.

• The World Health Organization, Healthy Cities and Africa – Warren Smit

• How Cities, NGOs and Communities Need to Better Engage with PEPFAR’s Approaches to Global Public Health – Andrew Tucker

• Reflections on Co-creating and Reviewing National Urban Policies with a Focus on Climate Change Abatement in the Context of International Organisational Funder Imperatives in Ghana and Tanzania – Anton Cartwright

• The Geopolitical Implications of Fractured Fiscal Authority and Fragmented Urban Infrastructure Systems in African Cities – Liza Cirolia

11.00 SAST Session Discussion

11.30 SAST Closing Remarks


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