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Urgent action needed in Africa for sustainable cities and built environments


Aerial view of city of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Photo: Adobe Stock
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – 15 African Green Building Councils, responding to the climate, economic and social challenges and opportunities sustainable buildings and cities can create, have helped produce the newly published Africa Manifesto for Sustainable Cities and the Built Environment

Photo: Adobe Stock

The Africa Regional Network of World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has launched the Africa Manifesto for Sustainable Cities and the Built Environment, setting out actions needed from policymakers and businesses across the continent.

The Manifesto has been developed by the WorldGBC in collaboration with 15 African Green Building Councils, supported by WorldGBC partners. The 15 African Green Building Councils are responding to the climate, economic and social challenges and opportunities sustainable buildings and cities can create.


The Manifesto highlights policies related to energy, water, materials, finance and infrastructure that African business leaders, city and government officials must support to deliver the ‘Africa We Want’, a ‘net zero carbon, healthy, resilient, equitable, socially and economically inclusive built environment for everyone, everywhere’.


It aims to address climate change and climate related disasters and deliver on the African Union’s ‘Agenda 2063’. Policies and commitments by national and sub-national governments and business leaders are critical to achieving the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) issued by African countries as ratification of the Paris Agreement.


By 2050, Africa will be home to 1.1bn more people than it is today – nearly 75% of the world’s projected population growth of 1.5bn more people. This means a huge demand for buildings, with 80% of those that will exist in 2050 yet to be built.


The Manifesto sets out specific and immediately actionable policy asks, including: 

  • Implementing and enforcing green building codes to improve energy efficiency standards, and increasing access to clean and distributed renewable energy systems.
  • Mandating water efficiency measures and supporting access to clean, safe and affordable drinking water.
  • Mandating lifecycle assessments in national building codes to support the use of low cost, low carbon, ethically sourced and locally sourced, resilient building materials, and establishing a Circular Economy Roadmap for Buildings.
  • Developing a common international taxonomy for sustainable finance, recognising green building certification schemes to support deployment of solutions, and ensuring every African can afford a green home.
  • Supporting an integrated approach to buildings and infrastructure, that optimises nature-based solutions, low carbon transport, and upgrading of existing systems.