- Environment Has Little Chance To Be The Priority In Sub-Saharan African Cities    click here to open paper content619 kb
by    Sangaré, Ahmed | sangsor@gmail.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
People think really about the future only when they can meet their basic needs in the present. Poor countries need a specific approach to sustainability.
Sustainable development is about projecting humanity into the future. But in truth, we do think about the future when we have a living wage in the present. This reality must not be ignored when developing projects for poor countries. The enthusiasm of Northern countries, vis-ŕ-vis the new concepts of sustainable development, is not sufficient for all local stakeholders in Southern countries to take ownership of these concepts. They consider them as one of the many facets of imperialism to distract them from the actual priorities. In particular, the environmental aspects of sustainability have not much chance being the priority of cities in developing countries for soon.

Countries must therefore be differentiated according to their level of development. If we can introduce new ideas of all kinds in the realm of possibility in developed countries, in developing countries, we must rather seek solutions that people and leaders are ready to own despite difficult economic and social conditions; solutions that may consistently change the life of the vast majority.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, much of the efforts are misplaced because they do not address the right project where they could have maximum effectiveness. There are two ways in which we can significantly change cities in sub-Saharan Africa: (1) a flexible and smarter urban planning that integrates environmental concerns such as densification and mixed urban functions, and identification of sensitive areas to be preserved by urbanization, and (2) a strengthened public transport system alongside the fight against the automobile as a status symbol. Projects of expensive ecological districts with solar panels or other latest technology have less chance to succeed.

This note does not stipulate that poor countries should remain on the sidelines of the challenges of sustainability. It supports rather that they must approach it in a specific and less radical way.
Sustainability, Poverty, Planning, Transport
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