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Region: Africa

C40 Africa Forum issues call for urgent action to protect planet

Showcasing recent innovations in African cities, experts urge the investment community to recognise the potential of these leading cities and promote inclusive financing models


Johannesburg, South Africa, 18 June 2019: C40’s (www.C40.org) annual event, the C40 Cities’ Financing Sustainable African Cities Forum, which took place on June 12 in South Africa, gathered city officials and investors to address the most pressing climate challenges of our time, according to an official C40 communiqué. African mayors stated that inspiring citizens to live sustainably is a good start, but systemic infrastructure development, enabled by public and private investment, is critical to sustainable city transformation, the communiqué said.

Showcasing recent innovations in African cities, experts at the Forum urged the investment community to recognise the potential of these leading cities and promote inclusive financing models, the communiqué said. Our shared climate mission must transcend national and industry borders, the communiqué quoted the experts as collectively saying. ‘The transformational potential of African cities’, ‘a need for inclusive financing models’ and ‘our collective responsibility in the global fight for sustainability’ were key themes of the Forum, supported by Citi Foundation.

The forum provided a high-profile platform for over 50 African city officials to highlight their role as climate leaders; share experiences, challenges and opportunities with investors, government representatives, international stakeholders and not-for-profit organisations; and showcase the need for decisive city-led climate action and the potential of African cities for sustainable infrastructure investment.

Herman Mashaba, Executive Mayor, City of Johannesburg, took to the stage to emphasise the global scope of the shared fight for sustainability and the vital role of African city investment in progressing this fight. “Some leaders argue that the effects of climate change are the result of years of neglect by developed countries,” he said. “But, we need to focus on what every single nation can do right now to improve our shared future. Let us not delude ourselves – a lack of development does not exempt us from taking responsibility for our collective destiny. Rather than dwelling upon who brought us to this point, we must focus on putting sustainable development front and centre in all of our work”.

James Alexander, Director, City Finance Programme, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, said: “In recent years, the world has started waking up to the potential of cities to save us from climate disaster. Cities are where the action is happening, and the global leadership is being shown. However, securing the financing to unlock the potential, impact and innovation of cities is still a key issue, and that’s why it’s so important to bring together city, government and investment leaders through the C40 Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative. By developing financing solutions between city mayors and officials, and the investors who can unlock critical sustainability solutions, we’re building a sustainable urban future for generations to come”. 

Besides Mashaba and Alexander, key speakers included Stevens Mokgalapa, Executive Mayor, City of Tshwane; Honourable Mohammed Adjei Sowah, Mayor of Accra & C40 Vice Chair for Africa; Val Smith, Managing Director and Global Head, Corporate Sustainability, Citi; Jerrod Moodley, Rand Merchant Bank and Rose Molokoane, SDI & FEDUP (Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor).

Panel topics covered financial tools for climate adaptation in cities, the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships, and aligning inclusivity with sustainability and partnerships to develop clean transportation and energy. The Forum led into two days of workshop sessions for cities to discuss new ideas for sustainable change, share expertise and determine the steps to be taken in their journey to tackle climate change.

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