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11 April 2016

Africa’s population to reach 2.4 billion by 2050 – the time to invest in the sustainable development of African cities is now

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According to a recent United Nation’s report, more than half of global population growth between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Africa. Of the additional 2.4 billion people projected to be added to the global population in the next 35 years, 1.3 billion will be added in Africa (that’s four times the current population).[2] This means that the continent will house approximately 25% of the global population by 2050.

“This projected growth may pose the greatest threat globally to climate change and other looming crises, as these future generations enter the economy needing food, water and energy, and generating waste. Changing the developmental paradigm of Africans now towards a circular green economy could therefore be regarded as the single most important endeavour in the world today,” says Gordon Brown, CEO of Alive2Green, organisers of Sustainability Week 2016, a City of Tshwane hosted initiative taking place at the CSIR Convention Centre in Tshwane from 31 May to 05 June 2016.

“Significantly changing the social and environmental outlook of Africans also offers tremendous economic opportunities for innovators and early adopters, as the process of technological leap-frogging heralds in a true “Green Economy”. Our hope for Sustainability Week 2016 is to highlight the need to develop and accelerate the pipeline of sustainability-oriented projects and contribute to igniting a green revolution in Africa.”

“It has never been more pertinent for businesses, thought-leaders, policy-makers, practitioners, producers and investors across Africa and beyond to re-evaluate their respective areas and the cause and effect of their actions.”

Sustainability Week, one of the largest gatherings on sustainability in Africa, has proven itself a significant forum for stimulating such international dialogue and action, and the 2016 edition will be no different.

This year’s Sustainability Week programme boasts 14 remarkable seminars and over-flow sessions aimed at promoting collaborative thinking and development to accelerate the sustainable solutions needed to support rapid economic and population growth. These include:

· The 2nd annual African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum, hosted by City of Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, will seek to build on the foundation laid in 2015 to develop African cooperation to address the sustainability imperative arising from the current and numerous challenges African cities and urban areas face on a daily basis.

· The 10th annual Green Building Conference, this year held under the theme “Building Smart: The Necessity Imperative” invites delegates to re-imagine how our human settlements are planned, designed, and managed, and calls on governments to accelerate progress already underway while investigating all opportunities to ensure a positive socio-economic transformation and sustainable improvement to the living and working conditions of the people of Africa in the long term.

· Sustainable Water Seminar will see thought leaders and experts from the private and governments sectors grappling with the reality of water scarcity in South Africa as they present the technologies and best practice, along with key strategies for guarding against absolute scarcity, including demand side efficiency, protection against pollution, and supply-side infrastructure investment.

· Vision Zero Waste Seminar invites leading policy makers, private sector practitioners and all other stakeholders to take part in an important and practical discussion that follows the circular logic that forms the foundation for a vision for zero waste. One in which the positives are maximised and the negatives minimised for the benefit of society and the economy.

· The Sustainable Energy Seminar will provide the very latest thinking on the energy market in South Africa – which is changing rapidly with a two-fold effect of driving investment and stimulating growth within the energy sector, and reducing costs and grid energy dependence on the economy – with insights from developers, technology experts, practitioners, and those that forge the policies.

· The Green Business Seminar puts green business at the cornerstone of the green economy. As businesses offer even more efficient and low impact goods and services, companies compete to make their offering even more so. These market forces can drive the transformation towards a greener economy through innovations in products and operations, with market leaders gaining genuine advantage. This seminar brings together experts on reporting, marketing and business innovation to discuss the very real benefits of going green.

· The efficient transportation of goods remains a challenge for modern cities. The Transport & Mobility Seminar will feature leading thinkers and case studies on efficient logistics that complete the picture of functioning cities.

· Notwithstanding the 50:50 land ownership bombshells, the range of issues confronting the agricultural sector remains enormous. The Food Security Seminar invites thought leaders and experts in the field of food security, agriculture, and related industries, to share the latest thinking and examples of best practice, presenting the changing face of African and South African agriculture.

· Mining is arguably SA’s most important sector, employing hundreds of thousands of workers. Mining, and all extractive industries however, have a heavy impact on communities and the environment. The Sustainability in Mining Seminar brings together mining executives and other stakeholders to share knowledge and experience on best practice approaches to energy and water use, waste generation and reclamation, effluent creation and treatment, transport and related issues, as well as the social issues.

· The Sustainable Manufacturing Seminar invites strategic discussion on all manufacturing related matters. Manufacturing represents added value in a country and continent historically focused and indeed locked into the one-way traffic of resources economy. In a global economy however, manufacturing is about competitiveness, and competitiveness is not just about price, but about quality, and by going green South African manufacturers can go one better.

· The Sustainable Infrastructure Seminar will bring to the fore matters of infrastructure development – from sustainable transport solutions, whether public and non-motorised, to green buildings that operate efficiently and self-sufficiently while delivering sustainable services, from renewable energy technologies to water saving initiatives, waste regulation and agriculture best-practices, businesses and consumers can only genuinely operate sustainably if the infrastructure to do so is in place.

Other must-see Sustainability Week sessions include Responsible Tourism Dialogue, a panel discussion for Youth & the Green Economy as well as the Green Home Fair exhibition scheduled to take place at Brooklyn Mall, which will showcase a myriad eco-products and service offerings for shoppers to explore in their search for reducing their impact on the environment.

Sustainability Week 2016 takes place at the CSIR Convention Centre from 31 May to 02 June 2016. Registration is now open. For full delegate information, schedules, sponsor and speaker information, or for sponsorship or booking enquiries, visit

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