Slavery, colonisation, economic underdevelopment, famines, epidemics such as AIDS and other tropical diseases, natural catastrophes, civil wars ... These are the catchwords generally associated with "Africa".
Additional to these "evils" are other problems linked to current process of urbanisation. Over the next two decades, 87 % of the population growth in Africa will take place in urban areas. Urbanisation processes in African cities entail enormous social and environmental burden due to uncontrolled resource consumption, haphazard economic or political strategies and unplanned urban development including settling in often inappropriate areas such as flood plains, landslip areas on hillsides, polluted land sites or territories in need of protection.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) defines six categories of environmental problems in African cities e.g. contaminated and inadequate quantities of water, inadequateprovision for sanitary management and disposal of solid and liquid wastes, inadequate measures to control disease vectors, poor quality and overcrowded housing, inadequate health services and inadequate enforcement of environmental and occupational health legislations (UNECA 1996).
The consequences of the lack of minimum requirements of vital infrastructures and services in these unsuitable living areas are enormous:
All these aspects encourage in these countries the vicious circle of economic hardship, poverty, hunger, civil wars, social and political instabilities.
In response to these poor living conditions, the Agenda 21 requires from local political and social decision-makers the establishment of long-term strategies that promote a sustainable urban development in their countries (Local Agenda 21). However, particularly African actors are actually facing various problems in implementing sustainable development strategies that fulfil the Agenda’s aims and goals.
The main obstacles are: insufficient financial resources; a lack of specialized professionals; poorly monitored and enforced planning regulations, as well as a lack of scientific practicable transformation knowledge for decision-making.
As response to these questions, the NEGROPOLIS Foundation believes that a sustainable and future-oriented development can only be facilitated in sub-Saharan Africa if the scientific community is brought together on a local level to work efficiently and productively on a daily basis. The aim is to develop and implement exemplary, integrated planning and management concepts as well as innovation strategies for sustainable development. Furthermore, it is vital that this community assist all relevant local stakeholders in the search for tailored solutions to everyday issues ...
The NEGROPOLIS Foundation promotes this new development strategy, in particular by supporting young sub-Saharan African scholars and researchers as well as promoting their integration on the local level