The urban and territorial development is entering new stages:
- Extension of the urban scale, from the neighbourhood to the city, from the city to the agglomeration, from the agglomeration to the metropolitan area;
- Importance of relationships and cooperation between territories in order to capitalise on large structural facilities - roads, railways, maritime ports, science parks, clusters, etc.;
- In turn, these new infrastructures draw a new urban geography, shaping new hierarchies between territories, where the quality of life, and therefore built space become an attractor of talent, investment and growth.
INTA since its creation, has focused its action at the heart of development and change in the urban landscape: new towns, regeneration and revitalization, large scale development and metropolisation process, technology and urban services, public-private partnerships, privatization and financialization of urban development, innovative habitat, etc…
Today the Association is opening new themes of reflection about interactions between large areas, infrastructure, partnership, funding and economic growth.
For several years, INTA has been participating in debates and discussions on territorial and urban transformations of sub-Saharan Africa: let’s evoke, on one hand, the regular participation of practitioners from Benin, Gabon and Senegal in our activities, and, on the other hand, INTA initiatives such as connecting with the Portuguese speaking African countries through the municipality of Lisbon, the Addis Ababa seminar (2006) on integrated development, Africities conferences in Abidjan and Windhoek (1998 - 2000), assistance to the creation of the Observatory of governance and decentralization (OGoLD), and the panels in Natitingou (2009) and Seme-Podji (2012) in Benin.
The time has come to develop a tool to capitalize on the layers of experience of INTA and its members, but also to bring back to other INTA members what is thought and what is being done in West Africa and more widely in sub-Saharan Africa.
Specifically, we propose, in close partnership with our members in Benin who are strongly involved in INTA network, especially the Delegation for Regional Planning (DAT), the House of Local Authorities (MCL) and the Observatory of Governance and Decentralization (OGoLD), the establishment of a Forum called “Territories in Africa”, an open and interactive space that could facilitate the sharing of experiences but also co-coproduce technical solutions in the field of urban development and planning, decentralization and local governance.
Capitalising on the recently created dynamics with the panel and seminar in Sèmè-Podji, we believe that this Forum “Territories in Africa” could be articulated around two main themes:
Urban development and planning and local governance and decentralization. Each of these themes has already supporting tools in Benin, the DAT for the first theme, and the MCL and OGoLD for the second one.
Forum “Territories in Africa” will take the form of an INTA Community of Competence that will mobilize practitioners and networks first of Benin, followed by the sub-region of West Africa (Togo, Cameroon, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, etc.), and finally other African regions.
The Forum Territories in Africa will propose the joint organization of a technical meeting on the first semester of 2013 that could take the form of a dialogue with local African officials on urban and economic development or a technical meeting on planning project, a training session, etc..
In addition, the Forum hosted on the INTA server, will implement ways of dialogue and exchanges already operating within the Communities of Competence (see attached note on the functioning of the CC) to ensure continuity of exchange between members of the Forum beyond occasional technical meetings.
The Forum’s programme will be coordinated with organizations in Benin, but also soon with other African institutions.