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5 most sustainable cities in Africa

5 most sustainable cities in Africa

In recent years, sustainability has become a key focus for urban development worldwide, including in African cities.

As the continent faces rapid urbanization, climate change, and socio-economic challenges, several cities have emerged as leaders in sustainability efforts.

The report stated that cities faced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, including business closures, strained public services, and rising unemployment.

This crisis underscored the urgent need for sustainable practices and presented an opportunity for a ‘Great Reset’ towards greener, healthier, and more inclusive urban centres.

Read also: Here are Africa’s 9 smartest cities in 2024

The pandemic demonstrated that radical change is possible, emphasizing that ‘building back better’ involves not only economic recovery but also accelerating progress towards net zero.

According to Arcadis, here are 5 most sustainable cities in Africa

1. Cairo, Egypt Global Rank: 86

Cairo, Egypt’s sprawling capital, ranks as the most sustainable city in Africa, holding a global rank of 86. This reflects Cairo’s efforts to balance its rich history with modern sustainability practices. Key initiatives include expanding the Cairo Metro, creating green spaces like Al-Azhar Park from former landfills, and investing in renewable energy with projects such as the Benban Solar Park.

2. Nairobi, Kenya Global Rank: 96

Nairobi, known as the “Green City in the Sun,” ranks 96th globally for sustainability. The city benefits from Kenya’s leadership in geothermal energy, which significantly reduces reliance on fossil fuels. Urban agriculture is widely promoted, allowing residents to grow their food and reduce the carbon footprint from food transportation. Additionally, Nairobi features numerous parks and green spaces, such as the Nairobi National Park, which supports urban biodiversity.

Read also: 5 Cities with the Worst Traffic in the World in 2024

3. Johannesburg, South Africa Global Rank: 97

Johannesburg, or Joburg, ranks 97th globally and stands as South Africa’s economic hub, embracing sustainability in urban planning. The city has implemented energy efficiency programs, retrofitting public buildings with energy-saving technologies, and promoting solar power. Waste management initiatives, like the Pikitup project, have significantly improved waste collection and processing. Additionally, Johannesburg is home to large parks and botanical gardens, such as the Johannesburg Botanical Garden and Emmarentia Dam, which enhance the city’s ecological health.

4. Lagos, Nigeria Global Rank: 99

Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, ranks 99th globally in sustainability. Known for its vibrant culture and economic dynamism, Lagos is making significant strides in sustainability. Key initiatives include investments in public transportation, such as the Lagos BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system, to reduce traffic congestion and emissions. Efforts to increase the use of solar power, particularly in off-grid communities and for public lighting, are also underway. Additionally, initiatives to improve water management, including better wastewater treatment facilities and flood control measures, are critical in this coastal megacity.

Read also: Lagos: Top 13 challenges of living in mega city

5. Kinshasa, Congo Global Rank: 100

Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, rounds out the list at 100th globally. This city is notable for its rapid growth and the corresponding challenges and opportunities. Key sustainability initiatives in Kinshasa include efforts to improve urban planning for a more organized and sustainable environment, enhancing public health through better sanitation services and access to clean water, and promoting grassroots and community-led projects such as urban gardening and local recycling programs.