Urban Dialogues Cap Town, November 22, 2022


Internationally it is recognized that infrastructure investment plays a critical role rebuilding economies amidst shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic and unprecedented financial crisis. If infrastructure investments are strategically designed, they can drive employment growth, respond to climate change mitigation and adaptation, build more just cities and regions, and propel economic transitions towards green industrialisation. Sustainable infrastructure systems that work with circular nature-based solutions are best suited to play this role in Africa in line with the spirit and intent of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

However, institutional inertia and sunk investments are major obstacles. Most of the existing technologies that underpin infrastructure programmes are not low-carbon or attentive to the importance of regenerating natural systems. Those who need capital for infrastructure investment, and those who provide funding and finance, seem unsure about how to change their existing business models to transition to next generation systems, resulting in institutional inertia despite bullish rhetoric about resilience. 


The conference 'Africa Infrastructure Futures' aims to open a frank and pointed dialogue between social partners – governments, investors, businesses, academia, civil society organisations and cultural practitioners – about what the stakes are and what needs to be done to ensure African solutions for Africa’s unique development challenges.

The programme on day 1 is structured around four thematic tracks featuring 12 panel discussions. Days 2 and 3 will follow a curated programme drawing on the experiences of practice leaders in numerous domains from across Africa. Find the programme online here.

As part of the research project 'Urban Dialogues' the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft is exited to be partner of the first Africa Infrastructure Futures Conference.


The first objective of the African Infrastructure Futures Conference is to achieve some agreement on what is meant by ‘sustainable infrastructure’ in the African context, given the predominance of informal labour markets and large-scale slum living and inadequate access to basic services. A second objective is to foster a shared understanding that an ambitious agenda to transform our cities and neighbourhoods can catalyse green industrialisation and a hands-on form of substantive citizenships. Third, the conference will confront the enormous financial and institutional challenges that must be addressed if the potential of sustainable urbanisation and green industrialisation is to be realised and not just be empty slogans.


Read also our policy papers on 'Mainstreaming sustainable infrastructure finance and innovation in Africa'