A expert panel selected by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) of The Economist magazine and Siemens AG ranked 15 major urban centers of Africa in 2011, by utilizing an eight category green city index. The index categories include:
- Energy and carbon dioxide
- Air quality
- Land use and buildings
- Environmental government
While most of the cities individual ranking(s) varied by category, here’s a look at how they were rated overall by using the African Green City Index:
Well above average
Cape Town, South Africa
Durban, South Africa
Johannesburg, South Africa
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Pretoria, South Africa
Well below average
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The key overall findings of the study include the following:
- No individual cities were found to be well above average by the index, though three major cities from South Africa are rated above average.
- South African and North African cities ranked ahead of cities from other parts of the continent – Accra being the exception to this rule.
Four of the most critical findings of the index are quoted directly below:
- “Good performance in the index was strongly correlated to fewer people living in informal settlements.”
- “African Index cities have had some success in maintaining green space but are generally marked down for low-density sprawl and the significant numbers of residents living in informal settlements.”
- “To improve urban environmental governance, political power needs to be decentralised, but in many regions of Africa, the reverse is happening.”
- “Environmental policy in African Index cities tends to be set at the national, state or provincial level, instead of at city level, which means that in general environmental issues receive less attention than if they were overseen locally. The four South African cities are notable for their relative independence to manage the environment at the urban level. In general, even if policies are in place, execution of those policies can be lacking.”
As with the Latin American Green City Index, the extent of detail and research that went into preparing the African report is exceptional. One again, I would have preferred that more cities in the study. In particular, I think it would have been useful to include Abidjan, Dakar, Douala, Kampala, Kano, Khartoum, Kinshasa, and Yaounde.
Just like the Latin America report, all environmental and urban planners should find this study of African urban areas to be a very useful and insightful resource. Here is a direct weblink to the report.