2015 Ibrahim Governance Weekend

2015 Ibrahim Governance Weekend

Accra, Ghana

The Ibrahim Governance Weekend (IGW) brings together leading voices from across Africa and beyond to discuss issues of critical importance to the continent’s progress.

The topic of the 2015 Ibrahim Forum was African Urban Dynamics.

It was a platform to identify key stakeholders and explore trends, issues and solutions that are crucial to unlocking the potential of Africa’s urban centres as engines of sustainable and equitable growth and development.

2015 IGW highlights

2015 IGW events

African Leadership Ceremony

Friday, 20 November

The 2014 Prize was awarded to former Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who received the award at a ceremony in Accra, Ghana.

President Pohamba was awarded the fourth Ibrahim Prize for his role in maintaining and consolidating his country’s stability and prosperity and for forging national cohesion and reconciliation at a key stage of Namibia’s consolidation of democracy and social and economic development.

The Prize also recognises his contribution in cementing Namibia’s reputation as a well-governed, stable and inclusive democracy with strong media freedom and respect for human rights.

2015 Leadership Ceremony highlights

Ibrahim Forum

Saturday, 21 November

In order to facilitate the discussion, the 2015 Facts & Figures report explored the specific scale and nature of urbanisation on the African continent. It addresses the associated challenges and opportunities that require strong governance and leadership in order to secure sustainable progress and development. The report takes into consideration different regional contexts and experiences as examples of best practice.

2015 Facts & Figures

African Urban Dynamics

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2015 Ibrahim Forum

Urban trends: setting the scene

Although still a mostly rural continent, urban areas in Africa are now growing at a much quicker pace than any other continent has before. In the next 35 years, the African continent is expected to accommodate 866 million new urban dwellers, which is roughly the same amount (915 million) as Europe, USA and Japan combined have managed in 265 years, with much greater resources. Moreover, this immediate challenge is amplified by issues that are specific to Africa. African urbanisation is mainly driven by natural population growth, rather than by rural-urban migration.

Up until now, it has occurred without, or with only a weak link to, industry-driven, job-creating economic growth. Also, on a continent struggling with topographic and natural constraints, and as host to many current conflicts, the demands of the 21st century include climate change, growing migration flows and worsening security threats, all of which exacerbate the urbanisation challenge. This introductory session set the scene for the discussions that followed, highlighting the main trends and challenges of Africa’s urban dynamics.

Chair: Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford

Akinwumi Adesina President of the African Development Bank (AfDB)
Aisa Kirabo Kacyira Deputy Executive Director, Assistant Secretary-General of UN-Habitat
Carlos Lopes Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
Kumi Naidoo International Executive Director of Greenpeace
Henri-Bernard Solignac-Lecomte Head of Unit, Europe, Middle East & Africa for the OECD Development Centre

Urban structures: bottlenecks & priorities

Providing sufficient, affordable and sustainable infrastructure for the massive surge of urban dwellers is a central challenge. All sectors require attention, with equal levels of need and urgency, be it housing, energy, transport, water and sanitation or waste management.

To be efficiently managed, this requires careful, focussed and strategic urban planning, including specific attention on the balance with, and connections to, rural areas, as well as between primate and smaller cities. At the same time, demographic growth represents a huge potential market for the private sector. Properly addressed, with the opportunity to leapfrog, cities could create stronger links between African urban growth and development for the benefit of African citizens.

Chair: Trevor Manuel, Senior Adviser to the Rothschild Group

Abdelmalek Alaoui Founder – Guepard Consulting Group
Mokena Makeka Principal of Makeka Design Lab
James Mwangi Executive Director of the Dalberg Group
Khalifa Sall Mayor of Dakar
Vera Songwe IFC Regional Director for West and Central Africa

Urban realities: potential vs risks

Up until now, and counter to the historical trends of other continents, African urbanisation has not been led by economic structural transformation and growth. Any progress that has been achieved in infrastructure and access to basic goods and services has also widened inequality. Almost 50% of African urban dwellers currently live in slums, and the continent hosts more than a ¼ of the world’s refugees.

Youth unemployment – Africa’s ticking time bomb – is 3 times higher in urban areas than in rural areas. The young, urban population need prospects. Indeed, cities have the potential to attract the most productive activities and African cities already generate about 55% of the continent’s GDP. Under what conditions could cities become the main drivers of Africa’s economic structural transformation, while ensuring that the key challenges of sustainability and equitability are properly met?

Chair: Clare Short, Senior Policy Advisor of Cities Alliance

Liz Agbor-Tabi Associate Director of City Relationships for 100 Resilient Cities
Valerie Amos Former UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs
Paul Collier Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford
Patricia de Lille Mayor of Cape Town
Arancha González Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC)
Saïd Ibrahimi CEO of Casablanca Finance City Authority

Urban powers: financial autonomy & political balances

Addressing all of these issues requires sound governance and focussed leadership. The ability of national governments to properly address daily life, individual concerns and global interdependent cross-border issues, is increasingly being questioned, specifically among the young people who form the overwhelming majority of the population of African cities. Local authorities may also contribute to a renewed sense of participation, public service and citizenship. This requires adequate urban governance policies, strong institutional capacities, sound and regular financial resources and balanced relationships across different levels of governance.

Chair: Zeinab Badawi

Ian Goldin Vice-Chair of the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations
Donald Kaberuka Former President of AfDB
Moïse Katumbi Former Governor of Katanga
Carlos Lopes Executive Secretary General – United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia
Parks Tau Mayor of Johannesburg
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Senior Adviser to Lazard

Discussion with the Mayors

Aisa Kirabo Kacyira Former Mayor of Kigali
Patricia de Lille Mayor of Cape Town
Khalifa Sall Mayor of Dakar
Parks Tau Mayor of Johannesburg

Students from the University of Ghana, Legon talk about the future of African governance


Saturday, 21 November

As part of the 2015 Mo Ibrahim Foundation Governance Weekend a spectacular free concert took place in Independence Square showcasing some of the best performers of the continent including Sarkodie, Angelique Kidjo and Stonebwoy.

2015 concert highlights

Football match

Sunday, 22 November

Accra Stadium hosted a football match between 2015 CAF Champions League finalists, Tout Puissant (TP) Mazembe and a Ghana ‘Dream Team’ competing for the Ibrahim Cup.

The match was the culmination of the 2015 Mo Ibrahim Foundation Governance Weekend.

TP Mazembe ran out eventual winners.

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