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Africa Renewal

The Africa Renewal magazine examines the many issues that confront the people of Africa, its leaders and its international partners: sustainable development goals, economic reform, debt, education, health, women's empowerment, conflict and civil strife, democratization, investment, trade, regional integration and many other topics. It tracks policy debates. It provides expert analysis and on-the-spot reporting to show how those policies affect people on the ground. And, it highlights the views of policy-makers, non-governmental leaders and others actively involved in efforts to transform Africa and improve its prospects in the world today. The magazine also reports on and examines the many different aspects of the United Nations’ involvement in Africa, especially within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

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For sustainable cities, Africa needs planning Interview: Joan Clos, executive director of UN-Habitat, visiting the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya

Africa’s cities are growing very rapidly. By 2009 some 395 million Africans — nearly 40 per cent of the continent’s population — lived in urban areas. That number is projected to triple to more than 1.2 billion, or 60 per cent of all Africans, by 2050. For the United Nations Human Settlements Programme — known as UN-Habitat — that growth represents a dual challenge: helping Africans to better harness the productive potential of their cities, but also to cope with the increased demands for municipal services and decent housing, so that more and more people are not obliged to crowd into impoverished slum areas. Joan Clos, a former mayor of Barcelona, Spain, and since 2010 the executive director of UN-Habitat, believes that tackling those challenges will above all require more systematic urban planning. Africa Renewal’s managing editor, Ernest Harsch, spoke with him at UN-Habitat’s headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

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