Training, research and financing for sustainable urban development will be strengthened in 15 African countries. This is the certainty of the government of Togo, which is preparing to establish the Regional Centre of Excellence on Sustainable Cities in Africa (Cervida-Dounedon) on the campus of the University of Lomé.
In Togo, the Regional Centre of Excellence on Sustainable Cities in Africa (Cervida-Dounedon) will now be located at the University of Lomé, which has been its supervisor since its creation in 2020 by the Togolese government. The future building, which will be inaugurated by December 2023, will cover a total area of 3,300 m2 thanks to the support of the Association of African Universities (AAU) and the World Bank Group in Togo.
Thus, Cervida will increase its training offer for the benefit of young people in Ivory Coast, Senegal and 13 other African countries, particularly on sanitation and urban planning, mobility and ecological housing, with the aim of developing green metropolises on the continent, particularly in Togo. “The establishment of Cervida’s headquarters at the University of Lomé will contribute to the implementation of the government’s roadmap for the environment and sustainable development,” explains Ihou Wateba, the Togolese Minister of Higher Education and Research.
According to the 2016 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), more than 400 million Africans live in cities, with an annual increase of 7%. In the face of demographic growth, Cervida will have to position itself on more sustainable urbanisation models by advocating, for example, decentralised international cooperation between West African municipalities that are powerless in the face of pollution of all kinds and climatic hazards (floods and drought).
Achieving the SDGs in cities
The institution headed by Coffi Aholou has already equipped two cohorts “respecting gender equality” advocated by the United Nations’ 5th sustainable development goal (SDG5). Among the young women trained at Cervida are Sévérine Ayélé Kouevi-Kokoh and Nadine Couao-Zotti. The two Togolese women have set up a factory to manufacture ecological paving stones “made in Togo” in order to combat the proliferation of waste in Lomé. These paving stones for the construction of public roads benefit from the technical expertise of the Michigan Technological University in the United States of America.
This initiative may enable the Togolese capital to appear in 2023 in the Top 100 sustainable cities published by the Dutch company Arcadis. In 2022, this global ranking, which rewards 100 municipalities for the implementation of infrastructures that promote the ecological transition, honoured Cairo in Egypt, Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa, Nairobi in Kenya, Lagos in Nigeria and Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The criteria for the award include energy efficiency, technological innovation, sustainable transport, waste management, biodiversity protection and access to safe drinking water as called for by the MDG6.