International Conference on Infrastructure Development in Africa Opens
The College of Art and Built Environment has organised the 6th edition of International Conference on Infrastructure Development in Africa (ICIDA) at the IDL Conference Center. The three-day conference which started on 12th April, 2017 and will end on 14th April, 2017 is on the theme “Building Resilience through African Urban Culture and Infrastructure Development”.
In his welcoming address, Professor Joshua Ayarkwah, Provost, College of Art and Built Environment, noted that this year’s theme for ICIDA has been carefully chosen to reflect contemporary issues on infrastructure development affecting the continent. He explained that the 6th edition of ICIDA presents the importance of building resilience in changing environmental conditions: rainstorms, droughts, deforestation and emerging terrorist syndrome within the African urban culture. He outlined some major challenges facing our cities which includes bad roads, poor waste management, traffic congestion, fast growing slums, general lack of affordable housing and the poor state of educational and health facilities.
He continued that the issue of infrastructure was so important that ten (10) out of the seventeen (17) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are directly linked to sustainable infrastructure provision. The new Africa Development Agenda seeks to prioritize industrialization and this will be anchored on sustainable infrastructure. He said, “For infrastructure to play this role, its conception, design and construction should be grounded in African culture, values and norms. Infrastructure should be repositioned to preserve and reinforce the progressive aspects of our social values”.
Prof. Ayarkwah believes that it is time to frame the infrastructure discourse through gender sensitive lenses so that we can harness its inherent potential to trigger the next wave of economic development in a way that creates opportunities for men, women, youth and the socially excluded.
Reverend Professor Charles Ansah, Pro-Vice Chancellor, KNUST, in his speech was excited about the initiative of the College of Art and Built Environment to make infrastructure a flagship academic discourse on the continent. He added that the conference was of great importance owing to the enormous infrastructural problems in Africa.
Rev. Prof. Ansah hoped that the opportunity created by this platform would generate deep thinking about how to address the current issues on building resilience in infrastructure development through African urban culture.
Honourable Elizabeth Agyemang, Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, was of the firm belief that the 6th edition of ICIDA which presents the importance of building resilience in the changing environmental conditions, climate, natural and man-made disasters should aim to unravel the theoretical, conceptual and practical approaches to building resilience within the Africa’s urban infrastructure through policy dialogues and empirical debates by scholars, resource persons and experts from the world. She was certain that through sharing of experiences, case studies and best practices, innovative ways of making our cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable would be achieved.
She concluded that the government of Ghana has through the realigning of its agencies and creation of new ones like the Ministries of Environment, Science and Technology, Sanitation and Water Resources, Inner Cities and Zongo Development and Regional Re-organisation and Development indicated its desire to develop the country in a more holistic manner.
The International Conference on Infrastructure Development (ICIDA) was established by the College of Built Environment (then College of Architecture and Planning) with the aim of making infrastructure a flagship academic event in Africa with its first conference held in Kumasi in 2012. ICIDA has now become a continental collaboration among KNUST, the University of Johannesburg and Bells University of Technology, Abeokuta, Nigeria.