THE African Union and a unit of Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd are considering backing a plan to develop as many as 123 new cities across Africa.
The plan, developed by Cape Town-based Africa123, envisages the construction of the cities over the next two decades at a cost of as much as US$150 billion (RM690/97 billion). The aim is to meet a continent-wide housing deficit, with the World Bank predicting that 216 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa will live in shanty towns by 2063.
Under the plan, Africa123 plans to incorporate designs that include sustainable energy and water supplies, as well as transport, education and health infrastructure, and employment opportunities. The African Union Development Agency (AUDA) is in talks to develop a pilot project with the company and the programmes will include the provision of home loans through arrangements with financiers.
“We like the programme,” said Kossi Toulassi, head of industrialisation at the AUDA, in an interview. It’s “bringing together education, health and employment together under one shop”, he said.
Africa123 is proposing building new, better-planned cities to provide housing and other amenities, starting with three settlements in Ghana. Land for those has been secured and the plan is to build 800,000 residential units to house three million people.
“We are assisting with funding applications” for the projects, said John Anderson, the COO for the Africa division of SMEC Holdings Ltd. “We support the concept of sustainable cities” and could back future projects under the programme, he said.
SMEC is a global infrastructure advisory firm that’s owned by a unit of Singapore’s Temasek, which has a roughly US$300 billion portfolio. — Bloomberg
- This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition