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The City We Need NOW! AFRICA Campaign

Game Changers in Intermediary Cities

Towards AFRICITIES 2022 and beyond














Africa is at a crossroads. Cities are struggling with multiple crisis amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic and the multiple effects of climate change. Vulnerable groups are hit by social, economic, and political challenges, resulting in devastating setbacks to advance inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities. However, despite these setbacks, cities and urban areas remain central to the sustainable development trajectory. Cities are where a new social contract can emerge to accelerate climate action, ensure peace and health for all. Cities and communities have demonstrated solutions and are accelerators for the implementation of the SDGs.

Focus on Intermediary Cities

Like all other regions, Africa is off-track to achieve the SDGs by 2030 and urban areas as we know them are increasingly at risk struggling with deepening inequalities and infrastructure gaps. The pandemic has worsened the plight of slum dwellers representing more than 238 million people. In the meantime, Africa is meant to have the world’s fastest growing cities over the next 30 years meant to translate into exponential needs for affordable energy, sanitation, solid waste, transport and health care services. An estimated 3 billion people will require adequate and affordable housing by 2030. In that scenario, secondary cities are meant to play an increasing critical role as intermediate market places, processing centers for natural resources and agriculture, industry and administrative hubs,  and sometimes as ports and export centers. While large and megacities will continue to attract people, secondary cities may become more managable given their size with less congested areas and lower densities easing mobility of people and goods, reduced costs of land, better access to housing and services. As such, secondary cities could boost African national economies if well integrated into national development strategies as accelerators of regional development.

On the lead to the ninth Edition of the Africities Summit, it is essential to engage cities and game changers who can demonstrate that it is possible to accelerate change towards the African Cities We Need by leveraging the right partnerships in intermediary cities. By putting secondary cities at the heart of national urban strategies, national and local leaders will give a second chance to Africa by engaging larger and balanced territories, leaving no one and no place behind.


Africities is the largest summit on African cities organized by United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa). This 9th Edition of Africities will be held in Kisumu from 17 to 21 May 2022. Kisumu is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa, and the third largest city in Kenya after its capital city Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa. Kisumu, which literally means a place of barter trade "sumo", is an intermediary and inland port city on the Lake Victoria. Kisumu is thriving with rich sugar and rice irrigation industries, whose contribution to the National economy is immense due to its natural resources and as the epicentre for business in East Africa. Kisumu will help demonstrate ambition and achievement for African cities during the Summit.


Beyond Africities

The City We Need Now! Africa campaign won’t stop at Africities, Kisumu. Campaigners will continue spreading the word and raising ambitions for African cities towards the 11th session of the World Urban Forum convened by UN-Habitat in Katowice, Poland, from 26 to 30 June 2022), as well as towards the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) to be held in Sharm El-Sheikh from 7 to 18 November 2022. The campaign will engage regional and local government organizations, civil society and grass roots organizations, urban professionals, researchers and academias, youth and women groups, the medias and other relevant groups.

  • 15 February 2022: Campaign Launch

Front runner partners:​

  • United Cities and Local Governments Africa (UCLGA)

  • County Government of Kisumu


Other Campaign Partners:

  • Slum Dwellers International (SDI) International (Secretariat in Cape Town, South Africa)

  • Huairou Commission International

  • Winam grassroots 

  • Dreamtown

  • Polycom 

  • Africa Union of Architects (AUA) 

  • International Union of Architects (UIA)

  • 24:7 Group 

  • Foster Green Association 

  • Leader for Leader 

  • Agriskul 

  • Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) 

  • Université de Montréal / RESAUD Montreal

  • Katuba Women’s Association

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