Angola, the seventh-largest country in Africa, will host the 2nd African Urban Infrastructure Investment Forum (AUIIF) in the capital, Luanda, from Today 29th to 30th April. The theme for this year’s AUIIF is ‘Turning African Cities into Economic Powerhouses’, and the Forum will showcase Luanda, as one of Africa’s construction ‘Hubs’, while highlighting the country’s post-conflict reconstruction efforts. The government will use the opportunity of the AUIIF to showcase its flagship urbanization project “New Centralities” (New Cities). The project is a result of the Angolan Government’s National Programme for Urbanism and Housing (PNUH).
“This project was formulated, coordinated and led by the President of the country himself”, said the Angolan Minister for Urbanism and Habitat, Hon. José António M. da Conceição e Silva, reinforcing the fact that this is a major government priority over the next few years. The Minister stated that it is essential for his country to keep strengthening urban infrastructure in order to attract foreign investment, and to allow for the rapid industrialization of the economy.
As part of the government’s urban plan, Angola is banking on the construction of new cities to bridge the housing gap. Most of these cities are being built on the outskirts of the country’s largest existing cities, particularly on the fringes of Luanda. There has already been significant progress, with new centralities such as Km 44, Capari, Kilamba Kiaxi located 20 km from Luanda benefitting from an investment of US$3.5 billion. Cuaco and Zango cities are either under construction or planned and the construction plan will be extended to Beguela, Uíge and Lobito. While in Luanda, delegates at the Forum will will have an opportunity to visit the Kilamba New Centrality. According to Minister da Conceição e Silva, “there is no doubt that these large housing developments, Kilamba’s, are the best public housing units not only in Africa, but in the developing world”.
The Republic of Angola began the slow but steady path to reform and rehabilitation when civil war came to an end in 2002. The country demonstrates the ability of African states to emerge from conflict and offer a secure and stable environment for reconstruction and development.
Over 350 local, national and international industry leaders from various sectors including construction, transportation, energy, finance, management and consulting are expected to attend the Forum at the Talatona Convention Centre (CCTA) starting today
AUIIF brings together a prestigious line up of expert speakers who have made significant contributions towards Africa’s socio-economic reconstruction efforts. These include the former Cape Verdian Head of State, HE Pedro Pires, senior government officials, urban planners, designers, developers, think-thanks, academics, funding agencies and potential investors who have been working together to promote the continent’s development. Speakers and panelists are drawn from more than sixteen African countries as well as some international experts.
The Forum’s organizers, IC events and African Business magazine, is part of the IC Publications group, one of Africa’s leading media and communications groups. The Group’s Publisher and CEO, Omar Ben Yedder, said that the Forum, now in its second year, is being hosted in partnership with the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-A) and with support from UN-Habitat. Last year’s forum was held in Cape Town, South Africa.
The McKinsey Global Institute forecasts that by 2030, the continent’s 18 largest cities will have a combined spending power of US$1.3tr. However, although African cities are growing an unprecedented rate and creating huge commercial opportunities, there are great inequalities and there is also potential for social tension.
One of Africa’s urbanization experts, UCLG-A General-Secretary, Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi states that between 2010 and 2050, Africa’s average urban population is set to increase threefold, from 400m to 1,2billion. This means that a quarter of the world’s urban population – or the equivalent of Africa’s current total population – will live in African cities. The major challenge for African governments, therefore, is to build urban environments that meet the needs of residents and investors.
The inaugural issue of a magazine “African Cities” would be unveiled ruring the 2nd African Urban Infrastructure Investment Forum. The magazine, which is published in three languages (Portuguese, English and French), will provide exclusive coverage of infrastructure development in Angola in this first issue. The publication will be available in Lusophone countries (Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique and Cape Verde) and will also be distributed across Africa.