What is RISE Africa?

RISE Africa is ICLEI Africa’s new annual event that aims to inspire and foster new connections that lead to swift and impactful actions for enhanced sustainability and resilience in Africa’s urban areas. Exposure to forward-thinking ideas from different disciplines through a range of curated interactions will provide an antidote to outdated “silo” thinking that is well recognised to inhibit innovation. Instead of being another ‘talk shop’ amongst like-minded individuals, RISE Africa will bring a diversity of city role players together in innovative sessions to identify new opportunities for collaborative action.

Who should participate?

RISE Africa aims to break down the barriers between different groups by encouraging interactions between diverse role players who, together, can translate ideas into action on the ground. Unlike many academic conferences, participants will not be separated by expertise or interest. Unlike many government engagements, participants will not be separated by hierarchy. Instead, a ‘level playing field’ will be provided to facilitate engagement and cross-disciplinary learning to spark innovative actions for sustainable cities.

We are seeking:



will have opportunities to share their ideas with those who could take them to scale



will be inspired by new ideas, and connect with enablers who can help them to translate ideas into action. Doers include city officials, NGOs, MBA students, entrepreneurs and engineers, amongst others



will be exposed to cutting-edge thinking about the future of African cities, and new opportunities for impactful collaboration. Enablers include development agencies, investment banks, foundations, philanthropists, funders and financiers, amongst others

RISE Africa Advisory Committee

Murielle Diaco

Entrepreneure – innovation & collaboration pour le développement durable en Afrique

Murielle Diaco is the founder and CEO of Djouman, one of the leading catalysts of innovation for sustainability in Africa. With a background in computer science and engineering, she worked for more than 6 years in the financial industry. Following the completion of her MBA, Murielle decided to engage more actively in sustainable development in Africa, focusing on entrepreneurship. In January 2016, she launched Djouman as a platform to support innovative start-ups and SMEs in realising their potential. Djouman facilitates connections with the right experts, business partners and investors across a range of sustainability themes (including renewable energy, waste management, sustainable agriculture, health and education) and has over 2000 members primarily located in western and central Africa.

Dr. David Dodman

Director: Human Settlements Group at International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

Dr. David Dodman is the Director of the Human Settlements Group at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Development Planning Unit, University College London (UCL). He holds a D.Phil. in Geography from the University of Oxford, and has published widely in books and peer-reviewed journals. David has contributed to major international reports including the UN Habitat Global Report on Human Settlements, and is currently a Coordinating Lead Author on ‘Cities, Settlements and Key Infrastructure’ for the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report.

Dr. Geci Karuri-Sebina

Thinker, Researcher, Sometimes-Do’er

Dr. Geci Karuri-Sebina is an Associate with South African Cities Network (SACN), and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Wits School of Governance. Her experience and interests particularly relate to cities, socio-technical systems and the future. Geci holds a PhD in planning and innovation systems from Wits University, Masters’ degrees in Architecture and in Urban Planning from UCLA, and undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Sociology. Geci has worked with various government and science council programmes in South Africa over the past two decades, including National Treasury, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and the Human Sciences Research Council ( HSRC). She also serves in numerous public-good development formations including the Boards of AfricaLics, the Johannesburg Development Agency – JDA, and PlanAct NGO, and is National Organiser of the Civic Tech Innovation Network. 

Dr. Camaren Peter

Associate Professor, Allan Gray Centre for Values-Based Leadership

Dr. Camaren Peter is an author and Associate Professor with the Allan Gray Centre for Values-Based Leadership at the Graduate School of Business (University of Cape Town) and the Executive Head of the Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change. His scholarship and practice leverages systems and complexity theory to prepare leaders to tackle the grand challenges of the 21st Century. These range from political, technological and socio-cultural transitions and their implications, to powerful global change phenomena such as urbanisation, resource scarcity, ecosystems degradation and climate change.  

Dr. Debra Roberts

Head of the Sustainable and Resilient City Initiatives Unit in eThekwini Municipality

Dr. Debra Roberts is the head of the Sustainable and Resilient City Initiatives Unit in eThekwini Municipality in South Africa. She was a lead author of Chapter 8 (Urban Areas) and a contributing author to Chapter 12 (Africa) of Working Group II’s contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). She was elected as Co-Chair of Working Group II for the IPCC’s sixth assessment cycle in 2015. Dr. Roberts is an Honorary Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the School of Life Sciences and is an advisor to the Global Commission on Adaptation, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the United Nations Secretary General’s 2019 Climate Summit. In 2019 she was included in a list of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy.

All thinkers, doers and enablers who wish to play a part in action for sustainable African cities are invited to join us at RISE Africa 2021.

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About ICLEI Africa

ICLEI Africa developed RISE Africa to support its 198 member cities, sub-national and local governments on their sustainability journey.

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