Africa could reimagine its cities because of the pandemic

The need for social distancing and better sanitation could leapfrog African city development into a more sustainable future.

This is according to Duncan Bonnett, director Market Access & Research at Africa House, and research partner of exhibition organiser Messe Muenchen South Africa, who says that while Africa’s architects and planners have long been pushing for greener, smarter better designed urban spaces, the COVID-19 pandemic may help fast-track moves to better living spaces.

African city
An opportunity lies in the complete redevelopment of urban spaces in South Africa and across Africa

Silver linings

Speaking ahead of the bauma CONEXPO AFRICA trade show, Bonnett says: “The pandemic has certainly caused delays and disruptions across construction and infrastructure development, but there are some silver linings for the sector, and for Africa as a whole.”

These, he says, included a new need for the realignment of developments such as commercial and hospitality spaces, the reconfiguration of retail developments and the reimagining of towns and cities.

“We could see redevelopment and remodelling of spaces, the development of new warehousing and logistics hubs as e-commerce really takes off; and the growth of retail distribution infrastructure closer to outlets and consumers.”

“Another opportunity lies in the complete redevelopment of urban spaces in South Africa and across Africa,” he says. “The pandemic is highlighting how difficult it is to maintain safe social distancing and ensure water and sanitation for townships and informal settlements, for example. This is an opportunity for investors, governments and private sector to reconfigure how Africa lives – reimagining housing, green spaces, sanitation, power, and the work environment to ensure that both urban and rural spaces are resilient to disruption such as pandemics.”

Africa’s future cities
Projections for how Africa’s future cities could look

Improving living conditions

The growth of urban areas in sub-Saharan Africa has accelerated in recent years and this growth is expected to pick up over the next 15 years, Bonnett says. “Donors, investors, governments and developers have been striving to improve living environments, but COVID-19 may sharpen minds around a more coordinated approach to developing sustainable, safe settlements.”

“In the same way as much of Africa leapfrogged telephony progress and went direct to smartphones, we now have an opportunity to develop new urban areas that are sustainable, environmentally friendly and resilient to disruption. This shock to the system could push us in the right direction to develop better integrated, smarter cities.”

Bonnett says Africa has much to learn from international best practice and pan-African forays into sustainable cities and infrastructure. “This is the time to have the conversations, and stimulate thinking around how we do this. Events like bauma CONEXPO Africa can play a key role in creating the linkages and getting processes going, so that the future-proof, sustainable African city is not just a theoretical concept.”

Suzette Scheepers, CEO of Messe Muenchen South Africa organisers of bauma CONEXPO AFRICA, says new approaches, technologies and construction materials can underpin Africa’s efforts to reimagine urban development. “Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, development will continue, and new opportunities will emerge across the continent. At bauma CONEXPO AFRICA, thought leaders from around the world and across Africa have an opportunity to assess new approaches and forge new partnerships that can support the development of the African cities of the future.”

bauma CONEXPO AFRICA, sub-Saharan Africa’s Leading Trade Fair for Construction, Building Material, Mining, Agriculture & Forestry Machines, Machinery and Vehicles, will take place in Johannesburg from 13 to 16 October 2021.



Latest


25 Sep 2020
React24 CEO named finalist in three Standard Bank Top Women Awards 2020 categories

React24 co-founder and CEO Celeste Margo Le Roux has been selected as a finalist in three categories for the prestigious…

React24 CEO named finalist in three Standard Bank Top Women Awards 2020 categories

React24 co-founder and CEO Celeste Margo Le Roux has been selected as a finalist in three categories for the prestigious Standard Bank Top Women Awards: Top Woman Entrepreneur, Top Woman in Property and Fast Growth Owned SMME.  “We believe that now more than ever, it is crucial to recognise the…

23 Sep 2020
Five ways to boost availability of your mining equipment

It could cost a mine operator over a thousand dollars per hour for a mining dump truck or a mining…

Five ways to boost availability of your mining equipment

It could cost a mine operator over a thousand dollars per hour for a mining dump truck or a mining excavator not to be working. With such high costs associated with downtime, there is no question how important it is to improve equipment availability within the mining industry. Let’s define…

21 Sep 2020
Society of Women Engineers annual conference goes virtual

The Society of Women Engineers’ WE20 is now a two-week virtual conference and career fair scheduled for 2-13 November 2020.  WE20 provides…

Society of Women Engineers annual conference goes virtual

The Society of Women Engineers’ WE20 is now a two-week virtual conference and career fair scheduled for 2-13 November 2020.  WE20 provides a platform for women in engineering to gather with like-minded peers, share innovative ideas, make connections for career advancement and ultimately make strides in recruiting more women in engineering.  Global…

18 Sep 2020
Digital marketplace set to change the way local companies purchase and dispose of assets

An evolutionary digital marketplace, allsurplus.com backed by one of the world’s largest asset disposal companies, Liquidity Services, is set to…

Digital marketplace set to change the way local companies purchase and dispose of assets

An evolutionary digital marketplace, allsurplus.com backed by one of the world’s largest asset disposal companies, Liquidity Services, is set to change the way local companies can purchase or dispose of assets to a truly national, regional and International buyer base. The website is an innovation of the global Nasdaq-listed Liquidity…


Top stories


29 May 2020
Electra Mining Africa 2020 cancelled due to pandemic

Electra Mining Africa 2020, due to take place from 7 to 11 September at the Expo Centre in Johannesburg, has…

Electra Mining Africa 2020 cancelled due to pandemic

Electra Mining Africa 2020, due to take place from 7 to 11 September at the Expo Centre in Johannesburg, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The next edition of the show will be held from 5 to 9 September 2022 at the same venue. Continued prohibition of large…

01 May 2020
JF Equipment launches innovative mobile unit for sanitisation in public places

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic JF Equipment has launched the revolutionary and durable Sani-Tunn, a mobile unit that…

JF Equipment launches innovative mobile unit for sanitisation in public places

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic JF Equipment has launched the revolutionary and durable Sani-Tunn, a mobile unit that can sanitise an individual as well as whatever they may be carrying. As the world adjusts to the new social norm, it’s encouraging to see how innovative our resilient nation…

08 Apr 2020
Uncovering the face of cyber crime: How a hacker scammed over $100 000

Researchers from cyber crime solutions company, Check Point, have painstakingly uncovered the identity of a prolific cyber criminal known as…

Uncovering the face of cyber crime: How a hacker scammed over $100 000

Researchers from cyber crime solutions company, Check Point, have painstakingly uncovered the identity of a prolific cyber criminal known as ‘Dton’. When you spot a phishing attempt or an email with a suspicious document attached in your inbox, have you ever wondered who actually sent it to you, and how…

18 Mar 2020
Coronavirus-triggered recession will change how we do business but could speed up Industry 4.0

The recovery from a coronavirus-triggered recession will usher in a new era in which the way we live, do business…

Coronavirus-triggered recession will change how we do business but could speed up Industry 4.0

The recovery from a coronavirus-triggered recession will usher in a new era in which the way we live, do business and invest will fundamentally change. This according to Nigel Green CEO and founder of the deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations. These comments come as…


Visit the official COVID-19 government website to stay informed: sacoronavirus.co.za