China has established a USD 1.6 million (RMB 10 million) fund to help train officials and professionals in African local authorities, provide new scholarships for African students in China and build better industrial and commercial partnerships.
The announcement was made 27 August 2012 at a two-day Forum on China and Africa Local Government Cooperation attended by local government representatives from 40 major Chinese and African cities. The meeting was hosted by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
“UN-Habitat welcomes cities in Africa and China to join us in our quest for more sustainable urban development, because we believe that the challenges facing cities are numerous and daunting, and no entity, public or private, governmental or non-governmental, academic or practitioner, can address these challenges alone,” said Mr. Alioune Badiane, Director of UN-Habitat’s worldwide Project Office.
In a keynote address
, he said that although Africa is the least urbanised region in the world, it its nevertheless the most rapidly urbanizing continent. With its current population of over 400 million people, Africa will enter its urban age in 2030 with 759 million people – and half of its total population living in cities.
“It is projected that the urbaniaation rate of Africa will reach 62 percent by 2050, with an urban population of more than 1.2 billion,” Mr. Badiane said. “This is both a challenge and opportunity.”
In a joint declaration
the delegates said: “The Forum achieved the goals of fostering understanding and friendship, establishing more contacts and enhancing exchanges and cooperation in various fields between Chinese and African local governments. Agreements, friendly exchange agreements, and economic and trade cooperation contracts were signed.”