The urbanization challenge: Twitter Q&A session with #AskKirubiACF

March 5, 2015
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Questions collected during the Q&A session on Twitter Courtesy of Africa CEO Forum #AskKirubiACF

1. @hansatmecity Who is leading the urbanization process: politics, economics, urbanists, sociologists, scientists or creatives? #AskKirubiACF

In many African countries, you could say it’s the Urbanists (mostly existing in International Organizations) and Economics that push the Urbanization agenda. However, not one group is capable of doing this alone.

Urbanization is happening as a result of increased demand for opportunities of economic advancement. Whilst we encourage growth, we must simultaneously ensure services and infrastructure are capable of withstand growth. Thus, we should realise the need for collaboration between various professions to ensure holistic and suitable endeavours. @DrTreasurer What have you Kirubi identified as the biggest

2. @DrTreasurer What have you Kirubi identified as the biggest African urbanisation challenge and what solutions can your suggest? #AskKirubiACF

Growth of infrastructure and services (water, security, transport, health, wastewater management, and aesthetics, among others) is lagging behind therefore hindering economic growth. As Centum, this is something we are trying to accomplish in Kenya and East Africa. Partnerships with the Government are essential for this and we promote teaming up with as many capable people to do and increase the general level of capacity of Kenyans.

Additionally, the failure of African Governments to recognise the role of urbanisation in political and economic instability. We need to step away from the notion of North-South dependency and find local solutions that adhere to our culture, possibilities and needs. African Governments need to create more local partnerships by partnering with Private Sectors and local people in order to push the Urbanization Agenda, whilst learning from mistakes of complete privatization but find a balance that works for the context we are in.

3. @hoseaomole Govts seem ill prepared as development sprawls in a planning vacuum. What’s the business sector doing about this? #AskKirubiACF

The business sector led by the Private Sector is really struggling to help meet the deficit in provision of basic infrastructural services. We see many Private Sector representatives accompanying Government officials as advisors to key investment and developmental forums in order to attract investors.

Collaborative measures such as public-private partnerships are in place now more than ever, but we also need the private sector and other stakeholders to align their agendas to the welfare of the state and build and plan within its boundaries.

Also, we cannot ignore the business sector’s role in pushing for reforms and the development agenda as a whole.

4. @wawendo what do we need to put in place to ensure this urbanization doesn’t cannibalize other sectors that fund the economy? #AskKirubiACF

We just need to understand that what every stakeholder is working towards; the development of an economy or the country is more or less under the umbrella of urbanization. Urbanization in my view cannot cannibalize any other sector. However, we need to increase employment opportunities, empower local government to provide core services, ensure ample security and engage in better planning for future growth.

5. @jaywatene should the role of urban planners be emphasized in order to achieve ‘sustainable urbanization’? #AskKirubiACF

Certainly! Urban Planners act as catalysts, drivers of change, motivators, facilitators, therapists and much more than technical planners. It is important to understand their role in order to achieve sustainability and I wish African countries could take them more seriously. Town planning in the past has been done primarily by Engineers and Architects, and it’s only wise for them to collaborate with planners in order to address the social side to upgrading and the built environment. Let us start developing for the people by the people; this is done by Urban Planners.

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