The Sustainability Week Summit is being held at the CSIR International Convention Centre incorporating the African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum (ACCSF). This the 4th annual gathering of mayors of Africa, hosted by Solly Msimanga, the mayor of City of Tshwane, a city that boasts the title of being the pioneer of green urban development.
The key challenges threatening growth in Africa today are mainly: rising unemployment, rapid urbanisation, trade facilitation, connectivity, land and biodiversity degradation, economic slowdown, effects of climate change and so many more.
This ground-breaking event is host to more than 30 mayors from Africa, together with business leaders, academics and committed champions of change converging in one space to discuss solutions around these pressing issues.
With the word sustainable everywhere, I checked the Wikipedia meaning for further clarity: ‘Sustainability is the process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony.’ In a nutshell and my version, I imagine sustainable to be about improving and leaving what we already find in natural or developed resources in a better state than we received it. A summary of the mayor of City of Tshwane’s talk will feature today including an exclusive interview with UniMedia Pro.
This subject is indeed is a huge task to fulfil if brought into the context of sustainable cities in Africa, given the lack of infrastructure. However, looking at the buzz at the summit, already we spot several companies from South Africa that are offering these solutions.
The Minister of Energy, Jeff Radebe is heading in the right direction with his keynote topic on “Responsible leadership as the key to sustainable cities.” A summary of the minister’s talk will feature today including an exclusive interview with UniMedia Pro.
The sustainable developmental goals as set out by the UN serves as a guideline only. With 17 goals listed, it seems as if one week is not merely enough to cover ground to ensure the full impact of this gathering. However, it is encouraging that we have leaders, academics, captain of industries, businessmen and women come out to primarily focus on sustainability and to work towards realizing these goals to ensure we leave a better city behind for our kids and the future.
The real value in this summit lies in the sharing from other African countries and how they must combat their own challenges in their respective cities. For instance, Rwanda has an amazing litter policy and its capital Kigali, is one of the cleanest cities in the world.
Can we in South Africa lend a leaf from your book Rwanda?
Today is commencement of Day 2 of the sustainability summit and workshops will include topics that cover funding the city, preparation for the 4th industrial revolution, air pollution and water quality monitoring and more.