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Our African City initiative to address public-private sector collaboration

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04 November 2015 - On Wednesday, 28 October, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said that the mistrust between private sector business and government needs to be put to rest and that successful public-private sector collaboration is the key to unlocking economic growth in South Africa.

“For business, it is about profit margins, supply and demand and ensuring that it receives a return on investment, but it cannot run away from the fact that the country needs us to hold hands and work together to turn things around,” said Zulu at an Economic Sectors, Employment and Infrastructure Development Cluster briefing, reports Engineering News.

Our African City is a collaborative initiative that has been formed to address this challenge and help government and the private sector work together to advance successful, integrated urban development in Africa. 

“Our African City is a dialogue on inclusive transformation that intends to craft a vision of what future African cities should look like. It will help the public and private sector take hands and work together to grow a successful economy,” says Abbas Jamie Aurecon’s Market Director for Government and Transport.

The initiative was launched at the Institute of Municipal Engineering of Southern Africa (IMESA) conference in Cape Town on 28th October 2015 in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA).

Lulu Gwagwa, Chair of Aurecon RSA Board, says that in pursuit of being future ready Aurecon with its partners commit to being at the forefront of shaping Africa’s destiny through transformation, innovation and advancing the African agenda.

“We believe that the private sector needs to partner with and support local government in its role of developing world class African cities. We have thus initiated this dialogue with the intention of aligning the private sector with the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) document that will shortly be released by the Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).”

Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, speaking as the Our African City Ambassador, says that all stakeholders are invited to become part of the Our African City initiative.

“It is a dialogue that is initiated, developed and owned by Africa with the intention of fostering a shared understanding across government and society about how best to manage urbanisation. Through this dialogue we can make a significant contribution to achieving the goals of economic development, job creation and improved living conditions for all of our people and transforming our cities.”

“Based on the history of the continent we need to develop a framework for what a future African city should be from an African perspective.  A future based on African ideals, African culture and African traditions. Our societies operate differently and we use public spaces differently. The Our African City dialogue is about understanding what our citizens want to see and experience in their cities. Understanding the needs of our people will help us create truly African cities,” says Jamie.

Dion Shango, PwC’s Chief Executive Officer Southern Africa, says that when it comes to urban development, different disciplines operate in silos.

“This problem is not unique to Africa, it’s a challenge that is experienced globally. We need to see beyond our silo if we want to achieve effective collaboration. Whether you’re introducing new technologies or planning infrastructure projects, everyone needs to be involved. It seems like a simplistic solution, but this type of inclusive collaboration is often difficult to achieve.”

“Since the advent of democracy in South Africa, the government has recognised the importance of planning for liveable, economically viable and sustainable municipalities in both urban and rural areas. This determination finds expression most vividly in 1998 White Paper on Local Government, wherein the role of local government in restoring special justice, social and economic development is highlighted,” said Cllr Nawa, SALGA Deputy Chairperson. 

“SALGA is therefore delighted to be a part of the Our African City dialogue which will contribute to the advancement of our cities which are the centre of global competitiveness.”

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