African leaders call for investment in smart cities amid climatic shocks

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-27 20:39:38|Editor: xuxin
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NAIROBI, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- There is need for governments across Africa to commit additional resources towards establishment of climate resilient cities, leaders said on Tuesday during the Blue Economy Summit underway 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 emission-free transport, waste recycling and energy-efficient buildings.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said that realization of sustainable and green future in Africa hinges on 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 withstand climate change impacts," Kenyatta remarked.

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

Kenyatta challenged municipal authorities to come up with innovative financing mechanisms to address challenges linked to rapid urbanization like pollution, growth of informal settlements, crime and inadequate access to basic services like 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 Kenyatta.

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

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (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 required to facilitate greening of African cities through investments in new building technologies, mass rapid transport and profitable waste recycling ventures.

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