Promoting Learning, Knowledge Sharing at Africities

As the premier event on local government in Africa, Africities was the perfect venue for the Cities Alliance to launch two new knowledge products and host special sessions on some of the key issues faced by Africa’s city leaders.

As the premier event on local government in Africa, Africities was the perfect venue for the Cities Alliance to launch two new knowledge products—publications on financing Africa’s cities and a guide on housing the poor—as well as host special sessions on some of the key issues faced by Africa’s city leaders.

Organised by the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA) in Dakar, Senegal 4-8 December 2012, Africities was attended by some 5,000 participants—representing local authorities, central governments, the donor community, the private sector, academia, the media, and civil society—who  came together to discuss the theme “Building Africa from its Territories: What Challenges for Local Government?”

The Cities Alliance hosted a large booth at the Africities Exhibition, which was a popular spot for members and partners to hold meetings, share information and catch up.

Guests at the exhibition also had the opportunity to learn about the partnership, our programmes, and browse a selection of publications in English and French. The Cities Alliance also launched two publications at the Africities booth:

  • Financing Africa’s Cities by Dr. Thierry Paulais, which is the culmination of a four-year period of research and analysis jointly financed by Agence Française de Développement (AfD) and the Cities Alliance.  (4 December)
  • The Quick Guides on Housing the Poor in African Cities, a series of practical guides that provide national and local officials as well as policy makers in African cities with tools and practical knowledge to help them enhance their understanding of low-income housing issues so they can make informed policy decisions that benefit the poor. (5 December)


Over the course of the week Cities Alliance hosted three well-attended special sessions. Two were centred around the newly launched publications: one on Local Financing Strategies, co-hosted with AFD; and a workshop on “Quick Guides on Housing the Poor in African Cities,” co-hosted with UN-Habitat to show participants how they could apply the information in the Guides.

A third session titled “Can We Reach Scale?” explored the Country Programme model, an exciting new instrument of the Cities Alliance that is bringing a unique approach to inclusive urban development based on partnerships and coherence of effort.

Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI) also hosted a lively session on the Know Your City initiative, which is supported by the Cities Alliance. Participants shared their experiences with collecting and documenting information on communities that would feed into slum upgrading.

In addition, the World Bank’s Water Unit launched a new report on The Future of Water in African Cities at the Cities Alliance booth on 6 December.

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