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Eggheads explore emerging African Urban Agenda

Efforts to tackle the growing challenge of urbanisation on the African continent is being revisited as settlement development practitioners gather for three days in Lagos from Monday, October 13, 2014 to explore the emerging African Urban Agenda.

Dr. Leke Oduwaye, Professor of Urban & Regional Planning, and Dean, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria
Dr. Leke Oduwaye, Professor of Urban & Regional Planning, and former Dean, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning of the University of Lagos in Nigeria will host professionals and students from around the world in a conference to discuss the continent’s human settlements trials.

The conference, with the theme: “The Urban Agenda for Africa: Realities, Challenges and Potentials”, is aimed at providing a multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder platform to discuss and debate the subject.

The conference is expected to be attended by distinguished guests, presenters and audiences from both within and outside of academia. Four key-note addresses will be delivered by: High Commissioner of South Africa Nigeria, Lulu Louis Mnaguni; Prof. Tunde Agbola, Chair of the Association of African Planning Schools; Mr. Ibrahim Aliko of telecommunications services provider Etisalat; and Ibrahim Dikko of the Dar al Handasah Group. Prof. Vanessa Watson of the University of Cape Town, Co-Chair of the Association of African Planning Schools, will make a video presentation.

Also, there will be a special panel session on urbanisation, trends and patterns in Nigeria titled “Urban Research Nigeria”. This panel will be chaired by Dr. Bunmi Ajayi, a renowned urban planning professional in Nigeria, with Prof J.B. Falade formerly of the UNDP and UN-Habitat as the discussant. The presenters of this session will be Dr. Robin Bloch and Nikolas Papachritodoulou, both from from ICT International; Dr Andres Rigon, who is affiliated with the Development Planning Unit; and Dr Jessica Lamond from the University of the West of England.

A PhD colloquium is also one of the major events of the conference and it is sponsored by the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Nigeria.

Over 60 peer reviewed academic papers are scheduled for presentation in parallel sessions during the three-day conference. The conference dinner speech will be delivered by the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Orelope Adefulire.

This year, two separate gatherings in Chad and Columbia examined the urban agenda issue. In February in N’djamena at the fifth session of the African Ministerial Council on Housing and Urban Development (AMCHUD), African ministers tabled housing finance and related topics for discussion.

The meeting, which had “Case Studies in Financing Human Settlements in Africa: Appropriate Legislative Frameworks and Innovations in Implementation” as its theme, essentially:

  • Developed an enhanced operational compendium for legislative framework and innovative practices for human settlements financing;
  • Defined ‘Africa Urban Agenda 2063’ that will also serve as an input into the African Union’s ‘Agenda 2063 as well as to the Post-2015 Agenda and to Habitat III; and,
  • Adopted the N’Djamena Declaration on Financing Human Settlements in Africa

Similarly, the seventh session of the World Urban Forum held in April in Medellin.

Both forums held in the wake of mounting efforts towards the articulation and adoption of a New African Urban Agenda, which is required to tackle the growing challenge of urbanisation on the continent. These processes, it was gathered, will lead up to the landmark third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, billed to take place in 2016.

Nigeria, which is leading preparations under this initiative in Africa, had last year demonstrated its commitment to the process with a pledge of $3million spread over three years, to drive participation by African countries.

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