Call for urgent investor action critical for sustainable African cities

city 3149170 640C40’s annual event, which took place in South Africa for the first time, gathered city officials and investors to address the most pressing climate challenges of the current time

African mayors stated that 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.

The transformational potential of African cities, a need for inclusive financing models and the collective responsibility in the global fight for sustainability were major themes of this week’s C40 Cities’ Financing Sustainable African Cities Forum, supported by Citi Foundation.

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.

Herman Mashaba, executive mayor of Johannesburg, said, “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.”

James Alexander, director of the City Finance Programme, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, commented, “In recent years, the world has started waking up to the potential of cities to save us from climate disaster. Cities are where the action is happening and global leadership is being shown. However, securing the financing to unlock the potential, impact and innovation of cities is still a key issue, and that’s why it’s so important to bring together city, government and investment leaders through the C40 Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative.”

“By developing financing solutions between city mayors and officials, and the investors who can unlock critical sustainability solutions, we’re building a sustainable urban future for generations to come,” Alexander added.

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 the next steps in their journey to tackle climate change.

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