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General News of Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Source: GNA

African Green Cities Index rates Accra high

Maxwell Awumah, GNA Special Correspondent, Durban, South Africa (Courtesy Siemens Africa)

Durban, Dec. 6, GNA- Accra city has a strong position on good governance and environmental performance as well as structures to work with the national government in implementing policies.

This makes it the only sub-Saharan city that placed above-average in the category of the African Green Cities Index.

This was the conclusion of the African Green City Index, a unique study commissioned by Siemens and conducted by the independent research organization, Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Siemens is a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering, operating in the industry, energy and health care sectors.

Cities from the North and the South of Africa deliver the best environmental performance of all major African cities.

During the past months, the EIU analysed the aims and achievements of 15 major cities in 11 African countries with respect to environmental performance and policies.

Accra, Ghana, as well as Casablanca and Tunis from the North and Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg from the South ranked above average in the overall city index results.

Those in the average band are Addis Ababa, Alexandria, Cairo, Lagos and Pretoria.

Luanda and Nairobi fell in the below average category with Dar es Salaam and Maputo making it into the well below average group.

The goal of the African Green City Index is to provide insights into the strengths and weaknesses of each city and start a dialogue about best practices in the area of green policies and infrastructures.

“With the Environmental Portfolio and the new Sector 'Infrastructure & Cities', Siemens is in the best position to support urban areas in Africa with green infrastructures," said SiegmarProebstl, Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Africa.

Delia Meth-Cohn, Editorial Director in-charge of continental Europe, Middle East and Africa noted that no city made the “well above average” indicating more work in the environmental and urbanisation footprints.

Edna Molewa, South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs said grassroots participation in the local governance structure by the people would engender innovation, inclusiveness towards saving tomorrow today.

The African Green City Index examines, for the first time, the environmental performance of African cities in eight categories: energy and CO2, land use, transport, waste, water, sanitation, air quality and environmental governance.

Whereas North African cities are strong in connecting residents to basic infrastructures like water and electricity Southern African cities scored high on governance and implementing policies.

In contrast, all sub-Saharan cities, except South African cities and Accra, struggled in the Index.

Their immediate focus on providing basic services tends to prevent a focal point on long-term sustainability.

However, experts agree that sustainable development policies at city level are far from being a 'nice-to-have option', but must go hand-in-hand with solutions to the continent's social and economic problems.

Africa is the fifth region to be analysed for Siemens by the EIU, which began in 2009 and identified Copenhagen (Denmark) as the greenest metropolis in European Green City Index, followed by Curitiba (Brazil) coming tops in 2010 for Latin American Index with Singapore as well as San Francisco being published as Asian and the United States and Canada Green City index for this year.

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