Masterminding Dream Cities for Africa

African Business, August-September 2014 | Go to article overview

Masterminding Dream Cities for Africa


The last decade has seen tremendous growth in many parts of Africa, lifting these countries out of their economic doldrums. Many African countries are at a critical point of their economic growth. Before the end of this decade, it is estimated that more Africans will be living in urban areas than in the rural countryside.

Africa already has some of the largest cities in terms of population in the world and these cities are still growing. Many other major cities are emerging. This has brought the critical issue of urban planning to the fore. City authorities all over the continent have been looking for solutions that will ensure that their cities of the future are pleasant spaces in which to live, work and play.

This calls for careful, strategic planning that takes into account current needs and builds in the expected future expansion to ensure harmonious and prosperous lifestyles for their citizens.

Cities are the engines of economic growth and the crucibles of innovative ideas. Thus, for the majority of African governments, few issues are more important than the development and management of their cities. They therefore require a sustainable development strategy articulated through a well-defined masterplan for their cities, underscored by good city management.

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world. GDP growth is forecast to grow at around 6% between 2013 and 2018. The continent's population is estimated to be nearly a billion strong, with a population growth rate of 2.6%. Currently, 40% of the population is under 15 years of age. The total population is expected to double by 2050, when Africa will have the highest proportion of working people in the world. These factors point to a strong inherent demand for long-term sustainable development, which will drive the economy and accommodate its population as well as their needs.

CUSTOMISING SOLUTIONS FORA LOCAL MARKET

In terms of urban planning and city management, few cities in the world can claim to match the outstanding success of Singapore. For Africa, Singapore is often seen as the outstanding model for which to aspire. The urban solutions consultant that is largely responsible for shaping townships in modern Singapore is Surbana International Consultants.

Surbana has successfully planned, designed and completed master-planned and designed more than a million homes across 26 vibrant townships with one million homes in Singapore.

It has gone on to export Singapore's concept of integrated townships in Asia, Africa and beyond, adapting it to meet local needs to create holistic and sustainable living environments.

Since 2005, Surbana has worked on projects in South Africa, Rwanda, Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Angola and Mauritius. With strong experience in providing end-to-end solutions in urban planning, housing and city management, Surbana's value proposition lies in being able to help emerging economies shape their development strategy towards sustainable growth, thereby facilitating growth for the region. …

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