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Charter Cities Institute Hosts Successful First Ever Africa’s New Cities Summit

Groundbreaking Event Produced in Association with the Rwanda Development Board and the Africa Infrastructure Development Association 

Washington, D.C.
December 5, 2023

The Charter Cities Institute (CCI) was honored to host over 250 delegates at the first ever Africa’s New Cities Summit, produced in association with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the Africa Infrastructure Development Association (AfIDA) in Kigali, Rwanda in November 2023. This event brought together all facets of the international development community – developers, builders, governments, academics, and more – to address the pressing issue of rapid urbanization in Africa. The Summit served as a platform for discussing challenges, finding solutions, and optimizing opportunities related to urbanization.

Bringing together leading global experts in designing, financing, constructing, governing, and operating new city developments throughout the continent and around the world, the Summit featured panel discussions, networking opportunities, installations of exhibits, local vendors and artisans, and much more. In total, there were 10 total panels, inclusive of the exciting New Cities Catapult program, which allowed prospective cities to pitch their projects. Additionally, over 45 different speakers addressed Summit attendees, including keynote and VIP speakers (Hon. Pudence Rubingisa, Mayor of Kigali; Hon. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG), as well as speakers from sponsors (e.g., RwandaAir), and other groups. There were also excursions, cultural performances, and the launch of special projects, including the Charter Cities Atlas book. 

Notably, at least six Memoranda of Understanding were executed at the Summit, highlighting that business took place on the sidelines of the event, not just in the conference rooms. Likewise, sponsorship for the Summit was robust, with 18 sponsors of the event, including: Maroon Associates, Afreximbank, Surbana Jurong, Small Farm Cities Africa, Itana, Waterfall City, RwandAir, IKAZE, BGR Consulting Ltd, Rendeavour, World Resources Institute, Kalumbila Town Development Corporation Ltd, Smart Cities Council, UN-Habitat, and Rwanda Convention Bureau. Sponsors were able to address and mingle with delegates and be immersed in event programming on all levels.    

Kurtis Lockhart, Executive Director of CCI, said “We were thrilled and honored to bring the New Cities Summit to Kigali. Having this diverse, talented, and star-studded group of government officials, pioneering tech entrepreneurs, private investors, city developers, leading academics, and more in the same room was an inflection point and truly transformational for the movement to help find solutions and optimize opportunities related to urbanization in Africa. We look forward to hosting even bigger and more impactful events in the years to come.”

Initial planning is already underway for the 2025 Summit and CCI plans to host several smaller, more directly focused events throughout 2024 as well, with announcements forthcoming.  

For additional information, please contact CCI’s Head of Communications, Michael Holstein ([email protected]). 

About the Charter Cities Institute

The Charter Cities Institute empowers new cities with better governance to lift tens of millions of people out of poverty. It was founded on the idea that a fresh approach was necessary to tackle humanity’s most pressing challenges: global poverty, rapid urbanization, and conflict and migration caused by poverty, war, and climate change. Charter cities—new cities granted a special jurisdiction to create a new governance system—are that solution. CCI is building the ecosystem for charter cities by: creating legal, regulatory, and planning frameworks needed for rapid urban growth; advising and connecting key stakeholders including governments, new city developers, and multilateral institutions; and, influencing the global agenda through research and partnerships.

About the Rwanda Development Board

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is a government institution, mandated to accelerate Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under the supervision of the Office of the President, RDB is governed by the Board of Directors made up of global entrepreneurs and experts. RDB was established in 2008 out of a merger of 8 government institutions, primarily to create a One Stop Shop for business and investments. Since then, RDB has been built with global expertise and modeled on international best practices, to provide support throughout the entire investment journey and to ensure that Rwanda remains one of the most competitive places to do business in Africa and the World.

About Africa Infrastructure Development Association

The Africa Infrastructure Development Association (AfIDA) is an association of project developers that seeks to promote and enable project development activities in Africa, by creating an ecosystem and platform that will foster continuous dialogue amongst its members, standardize project development template documents, and serve as a policy advocacy platform for the industry, with a view to ensuring that more projects on the continent achieve bankability.

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