African cities would grow nearly three times faster than the global average over the next three-and-a-half decades, highlighting the need for efficient, effective and environmentally sustainable urban infrastructure development.
More than 70 African cities would boast a population bigger than one-million people by 2050, financial services firm KPMG Global Center of Excellence for Cities leader David O’Brien said on Monday.
“In the developing world, the urban population is expected to jump by more than 1.3-billion over the next two decades, with each new entrant seeking better employment opportunities and a higher quality of living. This is most predominant in China, India and Africa.”
KPMG South African Center of Excellence for Cities leader Kobus Fourie noted that African cities would grow 267% by 2050, while global cities would expand 94%.
“We have issues that we really need to tackle now, before the significant growth starts,” he said at a media briefing in Johannesburg.
Fourie said KPMG would meet with executive mayors of the top six metropolitans in South Africa, National Treasury, academics and the Presidency to discuss rural and urban planning and development opportunities in the country.
O’Brien called for strong leadership from political and business leaders on urban development and the impact of cities on economic growth, social wellbeing, climate change and sustainability. “Future projects in city planning will not be successful if there is no political drive or will behind it. If there are strong leaders, who have the insight to manage their cities correctly, we will see thriving cities.”
KPMG’s ‘Infrastructure 100’ report has found that architects, planners, politicians and economists were now all working together to deliver spaces that promote better urban living for inhabitants.
KPMG Global Center of Excellence for Cities chairperson Mick Allworth said developers and planners could learn a lot from Eastern countries, particularly China and Japan.
The report showcased Fujisawa Smart town in Japan, which would consist of 1 000 green homes, each equipped with solar power units and fuel cells, which would be connected to a smart grid to manage supply and demand, with an aim to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 70%, compared with a typical Japanese town.