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2nd African Urban Infrastructure Investment Forum to focus on 'Turning African Cities into Economic Powerhouses'

Representatives from various sectors in over 20 countries to attend Luanda meeting, hosted by the Government of Angola
By African Media Agency (AMA)
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LUANDA, Angola,27 April 2015 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- the seventh-largest country in Africa, will host the 2nd African Urban Infrastructure Investment Forum (AUIIF) in the capital, Luanda, from 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 urbanisation 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, co-ordinated 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 industrialisation 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".

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), from 29th to 30th April.

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 panellists are drawn from more than sixteen African countries as well as some international experts.

The Forum's organisers, 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 urbanisation 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.

During the 2nd African Urban Infrastructure Investment Forum, delegates will be able to read the inaugural issue of the magazine "African Cities". 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 Lusophone countries (Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique and Cape Verde) and will also be distributed across Africa and the rest of the world.