(makesense Afrique) - Designed by the Presidential Council for Africa and makesense Africa, the city_lab programme starts in Senegal in partnership with Eiffage Senegal.
Launched in Abidjan in December 2019 on the sidelines of President Emmanuel Macron’s official visit, the city_lab programme is being launched in Dakar in partnership with Eiffage Senegal. Designed by the Presidential Council for Africa (CPA) and makesense Africa, city_lab is a pan-African programme which aims to facilitate the emergence of collaborative projects uniting French companies and African ecosystems (local companies, start-ups, NGOs, local authorities) sharing an interest in building sustainable cities.
The aim of city_lab is to collaboratively build concrete solutions to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s African cities. The most successful projects will be presented at the Africa-France 2020 Summit, organised in Bordeaux from 4 to 6 June and dedicated to Sustainable Cities and Territories. city_lab will be launched in 4 to 6 African cities between January and May 2020.
The city_lab in Dakar will start in February with a first workshop to train the working groups and outline multi-stakeholder projects around five priority topics (water, energy, waste, habitat and mobility).
In Senegal, Eiffage Sénégal is positioning itself as the first private partner of the city_lab programme through Sekoya Afrique, a platform launched in Dakar in September 2019 that seeks to identify the best low-carbon solutions to be implemented in its industrial processes as well as those of its public and private African partners. An initial call for solutions closed at the beginning of 2020 and its winners will be able to join the city_lab.
Sekoya Afrique continuously identifies new solutions via its website. At the end of the city_lab Senegal programme, two multi-player projects will be selected to be presented at the Africa-France Summit. These will have to include at least three actors (an entrepreneur, a local authority and a French company). At the end of the Summit, these projects will be accelerated and implemented in Senegal.
Mr Gérard Sénac, CEO of Eiffage Sénégal (Eiffage Group), said: “We want to contribute to a profound transformation in the way projects are co-created, by involving local decision-makers and citizens who use the city's services more closely. This was already our philosophy through SEKOYA, and it remains unchanged by this partnership with city_lab Senegal. This method, developed by makesense, as well as the desire for sustainability and inclusiveness in the projects, also illustrates Eiffage's specificity in its commitment to cities in Africa.”
Mr. Mamba Souare, co-founder and Innovation Manager at makesense West Africa, said: “The objective of the city_lab programme is to learn how to create, imagine and develop projects together. The sustainability of African cities will depend on the capacity of the different stakeholders to create integrated, innovative, collaborative and local solutions to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s Afircan city. No single actor will be able to respond effectively to these challenges on its own.”
For Diane Binder, member of the Presidential Council for Africa, “this programme embodies the meaning of President Emmanuel Macron's action in Africa: to create local alliances through grassroots engagement and create partnerships between French companies and local players in order to define and build together a more adapted response to the needs of citizens. This will help to support the innovation and creativity of the continent's civil societies and to develop together structuring projects that enable African cities to become human, ecological and hopeful cities”.
About makesense Africa
maksense Africa is a pan-African community of citizens, entrepreneurs and organizations working together to solve the social and environmental challenges of today and tomorrow. maksense mobilizes communities through new forms of engagement based on collective intelligence. From 2014 to today, the impact of makesense Africa concerns: 6,000 citizens in 10 countries who participate and commit to solving the challenges of their territories; 150 entrepreneurs and impact projects supported by the community; 7 entrepreneurs who benefit from tailor-made support; 30 large organisations who commit to innovation and impact; 20 new collaborative projects and high-impact companies born thanks to the makesense workshops. (www.africa.makesense.org)
About the Presidential Council for Africa
The Presidential Council for Africa was created in 2017 by President Emmanuel Macron to shed new light on the relationship between Africa and France. It brings together seven women and five men, volunteers committed to the development of the continent. Strengthened by the diversity of their backgrounds, the members of the CPA develop a permanent link with civil society, in particular with representatives of youth and the African diasporas. In the areas of future relations between Africa and France, they formulate concrete proposals for action that meet the expectations on the ground and the priorities of the presidential strategy.
About Eiffage Senegal
Present in Senegal since 1926, Eiffage Senegal operates four construction businesses: Construction, Energy, Infrastructure and Concessions. In each of these businesses, the Group has forged long-term partnerships with the main local economic players. In Senegal, Eiffage Senegal is the leading private partner in the city_lab programme. The company is keen to increase the involvement of local decision-makers and urban citizens to encourage the co-creation of projects. This conviction is already embodied in its low-carbon strategy, notably through SEKOYA Afrique, a platform launched in Dakar in 2019 that identifies the best low-carbon solutions to be implemented in both Eiffage’s industrial processes and those of its public and private African partners. The first winners will be able to join the city_lab Senegal.