The C40 Forum, an annual event aimed at establishing smart cities across the globe, has seen its stakeholders call on investors to help finance their drive to set up sustainable cities in various parts of the African continent.
The event, which took place this past week in South Africa for the first time, gathered city officials and investors to address the most pressing climate challenges of this era.
African mayors stated that inspiring citizens to live sustainably is a good start, but systemic infrastructure development enabled by public and private investment is critical to sustainable city transformation.
Showcasing recent innovations in African cities, experts urged the investment community to recognise the potential of these leading cities and promote inclusive financing models. Global collaboration was the consensus. The forum established that society’s shared climate mission must transcend national and industry borders.
“The transformational potential of African cities, a need for inclusive financing models and our collective responsibility in the global fight for sustainability were key themes of this week’s C40 Cities’ Financing Sustainable African Cities Forum, supported by Citi Foundation, which took place in South Africa for the first time,” C40 said in a statement.
The forum provided a high-profile platform for over 50 African city officials to highlight their role as climate leaders, share experiences, challenges and opportunities with investors, government representatives, international stakeholders and not-for-profit organisations, and showcase the need for decisive city-led climate action and the potential of African cities for sustainable infrastructure investment.
Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, took to the stage to emphasise the global scope of society’s shared fight for sustainability and the vital role of African city investment in progressing this battle.
“Some leaders argue that the effects of climate change are the result of years of neglect by developed countries. But we need to focus on what every single nation can do right now to improve our shared future. Let us not delude ourselves; a lack of development does not exempt us from taking responsibility for our collective destiny. Rather than dwelling upon who brought us to this point, we must focus on putting sustainable development front and centre in all of our work,” he commented.
Key speakers at the event included: Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba, City of Johannesburg; Executive Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa, City of Tshwane; Honourable Mohammed Adjei Sowah, Mayor of Accra & C40 Vice Chair for Africa; Val Smith, Managing Director and Global Head, Corporate Sustainability, Citi; James Alexander, Director, City Finance Programme, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group; Jerrod Moodley, Rand Merchant Bank; and Rose Molokoane of South African organisations, SDI & FEDUP.
Panel topics covered financial tools for climate adaptation in cities, the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships, and aligning inclusivity with sustainability and partnerships to develop clean transportation and energy. The event led into two days of workshop sessions for cities to discuss new ideas for sustainable change, share expertise and determine next steps in their journey to tackle climate change.
C40 Cities connects 94 of the world’s leading cities to take bold climate action, leading the way towards a healthier and more sustainable future. Representing more than 700 million citizens and one quarter of the global economy, mayors of the C40 cities are committed to delivering on the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement at the local level.
C40 Cities’ Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative (FSCI), supported by the Citi Foundation, provides cities with the connections, expertise and technical support to help accelerate and scale up investment in sustainable urban solutions.