Final Session: Group Work on "The way ahead, program development"

Tue 31 Jul 2012 at 2:00 pm to at 4:00 pm

Parent event: 

Moderator: Sam Sternin, Development Innovations Group, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Group 1 Rapporteur: Tang Xiaoyang, Tsinghua University, International Studies, Beijing
Group 2 Rapporteur: Bernard Moseti, Director, Fine Ltd Business & Research Consulting
Group 3 Rapporteur: Carine Kiala, Adviser on Trade and Investment, Consulate General of the Republic of Angola in Hong Kong SAR
Group 4 Rapporteur: Andre Mello, Research and Policy Manager, Development Workshop, Angola

Moderator: Sam Sternin, Development Innovations Group, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Participants were organized into four groups with balanced membership from China and Africa, each charged with generating project ideas to double or triple poverty impact. Each idea had to be described in relation to its poverty impact, the partners or actors involved, how long it would take, and how to measure the poverty impact. The four groups made the following proposals, not all of which were specified in relation to impact measurement.

Group One: Rapporteur, Tang Xiaoyang

 1.    Professional training for Chinese and African urbanists, which captures the ideas generated at this meeting.  The impact would be less “white elephant” projects with no impact on the poor. The courses would be 2-4 weeks long, as needed.
 2.    Vocational training for local builders in Africa, mobilizing Chinese technicians to train African youth. This would build capacity in Africa and generate better youth employment levels thus reducing poverty.
 3.    Chinese firms should adopt pro-poor urban development projects and activities as part of Corporate Social Responsibility. This would also generate funds since the CSR can be used a tax write-off.

Group Two: Rapporteur, Bernard Moseti

 1.    Replicate the method of participatory mapping of urban poverty applied by Development Workshop in Luanda. This would generate Municipal Assemblies across Africa that can apply participatory planning methods, thus generating greater pro-poor urban development. The planning of transport infrastructure is one aspect of this and it would improve the pro-poor impact of such projects. Three countries per year would be targeted for five years. The data generated would be mainstreamed.
 2.    Establish study exchanges for Chinese and African scholars, focused on methodologies from concept to design and implementation incorporating the user’s voice. These would focus on affordability and cost recovery. Transport systems would be included in specific exchanges. It would be started with a pilot exchange.
 3.    Establish a technical China-Africa Forum, linked to the political Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). This would focus on developing institutional frameworks for the delivery of affordable housing and land for the urban poor using methods outlined in this meeting. It would enable concrete inputs to Chinese investments in Africa by having negotiating power through FOCAC.
 4.    Set up a Trade Fare or Expo featuring Chinese business products that have a pro-poor urban content that will benefit the African region. This would be a pilot project linked to the African Union on Housing Finance which meets every other year.

Group Three: Rapporteur, Carine Kiala (photo, centre)

 1.    Creating decent work for the urban poor in Africa, through Chinese initiatives on SMEs through its state structures, involving the education sector. On the African side this would be executed through government, private sector and civil society collaboration. Household businesses, labor unions and employers’ associations would be involved. This would initially be a 2-year pilot program.
 2.    People to people linkages China-Africa to be set up through organizations such as cooperatives, to develop pro-poor knowledge on urban-rural linkages. This would address bottom-up mutual learning and would be a pilot project.
 3.    Research (3-6 months) on use of Chinese goods by the urban poor, to study the impact of changing patterns of trade China-Africa.
 4.    Studies of the social impact of Chinese investment in Africa. Selected big investments would be studied in relation to their impact at community level.

Group Four: Rapporteur, Andre Mello

 1.    Set up a regional platform for research including on project implementation, creating a knowledge reservoir on China- Africa cooperation on pro-poor urban development. At the political level this platform would be linked to CADF and FOCAC. The regional platform would be led by national organizations such as housing federations, but it would also involve multiple stakeholders addressing pro-poor urban development, including the urban poor themselves through their organizations. Public and private sector organizations such as banks and energy companies would engage with the platform which would thus involve Chinese companies directly in slum upgrading. The platform would strengthen bottom-up methodologies addressed in this workshop and would measure the impact of resulting initiatives on livelihoods of the urban poor. This is a long-term initiative.


It was immediately noted that there were linked ideas between the groups. The clearest connection was all groups calling for some kind of institution or learning mechanism. This would continue the development of the principles of good practice for pro-poor urban development emerging from this workshop. The idea of establishing a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative that addresses pro-poor urban development was endorsed.

There were a number of ideas that entailed macro-level thinking but micro-level action, such as the idea of a regional platform for networking of ideas. It seemed to suggest that this was a “panel with clout”.  There was discussion on the role of philanthropy versus the ideas of projects paying for themselves through full cost recovery. It was concluded that the costs involved are so high that affordable construction for and by the urban poor is the only way to go. The question is how to achieve it.

Methods of project implementation emerging from the group were not strongly developed. A pilot-testing method seemed appropriate but further work is needed to finalize these ideas in proposal form. A small group not taking part in the tour on Day Three was set up to move the ideas forward as an actionable project or projects.


Environmental Issues in Urbanization, Xia LI