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World Green Building Council calls for urgent action towards Sustainable Cities and Built Environments in Africa



The Africa Regional Network of World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) is proud to launch the Africa Manifesto for Sustainable Cities and the Built Environment, setting out actions needed from policymakers and businesses across the continent to deliver the Africa We Want.

CAPE TOWN – 11:00 SAST (GMT+2), 4 November 2022 – The Manifesto has been developed by World Green Building Council in collaboration with 15 African Green Building Councils (GBCs) from across the African continent, and supported by WorldGBC partners, including the  BuildingToCOP Coalition, Dar Group and Majid Al Futtaim.

These 15 African GBCs are responding to the climate, economic and social challenges faced on the African continent and the opportunities sustainable buildings and cities can create. The Manifesto, developed by the WorldGBC Africa Regional Network with regional partners and collaborators, articulates policies related to energy, water, materials, finance and infrastructure that African business leaders, city and government officials must support to deliver the ‘Africa We Want’: a net zero carbon, healthy, resilient, equitable, socially and economically inclusive built environment for everyone, everywhere. 

The Manifesto aims to address climate change and climate related disasters and deliver on the African Union’s ‘Agenda 2063’. Policies and commitments by national and sub-national governments and business leaders are critical to achieving the Nationally Determined Contributions issued by African countries as ratification of the Paris Agreement.

By 2050, Africa will be home to 1.1 billion more people that it is today. That’s nearly 75% of the worlds projected population growth of 1.5 billion more people.

This means a huge demand for buildings, with 80 percent of those that will exist in 2050 yet to be built. The time to act is now. 

Achieving these goals requires policymakers and business leaders across the continent to recognise the untapped potential of the built environment. But this can only be realised with the implementation of policies that support transformative action, through deep collaboration between governments and the cities, regions, businesses and investors. 

The manifesto sets out specific and immediately actionable policy asks, including the following examples: 

  • Implementing and enforcing green building codes to improve energy efficiency standards, and increasing access to clean and distributed renewable energy systems.
  • Mandating water efficiency measures and supporting access to clean, safe and affordable drinking water.
  • Mandating lifecycle assessments in national building codes to support the use of low-cost, low-carbon, ethically-sourced and locally-sourced, resilient building materials, and establishing a Circular Economy Roadmap for Buildings. 
  • Developing a common international taxonomy for sustainable finance, recognising green building certification schemes to support deployment of solutions, and ensuring every African can afford a green home.
  • Supporting an integrated approach to buildings and infrastructure, that optimises nature-based solutions, low carbon transport, and upgrading of existing systems.

Cristina Gamboa, CEO, WorldGBC:

“We are facing a climate double jeopardy — the dual challenge of keeping a 1.5 degree future within reach and protecting our societies’ most climate-vulnerable citizens. Although Africa contributes to only 4 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions, it is home to over 16 percent of the world’s population.

By 2050, Africa’s population is projected to grow to 3 billion, and 80 percent of the buildings that will exist in the region are yet to be built. With almost 40% of global energy-related emissions coming from the built environment, African governments must prioritise the sector as a way of drastically drawing down emissions and scaling economic, social and climate resilience. 

Let’s work together to put people back at the heart of a net zero, healthy and resilient built environment that works for everyone, everywhere.”

Vere Shaba, Head of Africa Programmes, WorldGBC

“This Manifesto is a collective and collaborative vision that is critical to recognising the full potential of sustainable cities and built environments in addressing climate change and resilience and adaptation to climate-related disasters in Africa.

This Manifesto was developed by a coalition of Green Building Councils across the continent who are committed to supporting this transition. The WorldGBC Africa Regional Network stands ready to support policymakers and businesses in implementing the asks of the priority areas of the Manifesto to deliver ‘The Africa We Want’ — where every African prospers through equitable and inclusive growth and sustainable development. 

Collaborating with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), our mission is to shift from advocacy to action, and from ideas to implementation going into COP27 in Africa. We can and must collaborate with every African to implement these recommendations so that no one is left behind.”



About WorldGBC

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) catalyses the uptake of sustainable built environments for everyone, everywhere.  

Transforming the building and construction sector across three strategic areas—climate action, health & wellbeing, and resources & circularity—we are a global action network of more than 70 Green Building Councils around the world.

As members of the UN Global Compact, we work with businesses, organisations and governments to drive the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Through a systems change approach, our network is leading the industry towards a net zero carbon, healthy, equitable and resilient built environment.

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Kirsten Barnes, Marketing and Communications Officer, WorldGBC 

Contact information: 


Download the Africa Manifesto

The Africa Manifesto for Sustainable Cities and the Built Environment