The necessity of a network of African professional planning institutions emerged across a range of practitioners attending the 2002 Durban Planning Africa Conference (PAC). Public and private sector practitioners, academics and civil society practitioners from across the continent agreed to establish a cross-boundary Pan-African movement as a platform for the profession to shape the urbanization agenda in Africa. The African continent has historically been the weakest in advocacy of planning issues for lack of effective central coordinating organizations.
The APA aims to develop and expand the planning profession capacity in Africa in order to:i. Contribute to growth and development of Africa through better spatial/physical planning;ii. Review and improve systems of planning on regional basis;iii. Create of continent -wide linkages between African Planners; andiv. Facilitate capacity building.The APA currently has 23 members serviced by a Secretariat which is managed by the South African Planning Institute. The APA was officially founded in 2006 when Egypt, Ghana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe signed the Durban Declaration at the 2006 PAC. In 2008 Algeria, Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Togo, Tunisia and Nigeria joined the signatories. This was followed by Tanzania, Mauritius and Kenya signing at PAC 2010 when the network expanded its scope by entering into partnership with UN-HABITAT and the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP). During the sub-regional meeting in Bamako, Mali, that was held in July 2011, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Morocco and Senegal undersigned the Durban Declaration.UN-HABITAT is currently working with the APA to promote better understanding and advocacy of planning issues through to promote sustainable urbanization through:i. Capacity-building;ii. Best-practice sharing;iii. Networking among African planners;iv. Preparation of country-level policy and legislation reviews; andv. Development of guidelines on urban planning.In April 2011, the APA was officially recognized in UNHABITAT structures as a member of the Habitat Professional Forum, a multilateral platform of global built environment networks.APA membership is open to all national-level planning institutes, associations, organizations and orders representing the interests of the planning profession and seeking to improve the quality of spatial outcomes.
A reflection on African cities reveals a trend of steadfastly divisive, inequitable and fragmenting urban landscape. Landscapes characterised by low density urban development, reinforced market dynamics that drives sprawl which dislocates the poor and endangers unique environmental systems.The unique nature of African urbanization requires a legitimate advocate for spatial planning which influences agenda setting, policy reforms and institution building. Key to this is enhancing professionalism through establishing networks and mainstreaming learning and innovative practice across the diversity of countries and regions in order to enhance management of the urbanization process.APA recognises that the future of sustainable urbanization in Africa is contingent on the quality of the planning profession. The APA seeks to converge African planners across language and geographic boundaries to enhance the planning profession's engagement with the continental and global urbanism agenda. Regionalization is key to ensuring a local APA footprint as well as a depth of diversity within continental APA structures.The APA intends to establish a system of regional focal points capable of allocating own resources towards regional APA platforms of coordination information-sharing and advocacy.
3. 2011/2012 Work Plan
The core objectives of the APA are to:i. Grow the talent pool of planners (new good quality planners);ii. Improve the experience, knowledge and skills of planners; andiii. Promote the voice and influence of planners continentally and globally.The 2011/2012 APA activities focus on establishing and operating a network of planning bodies and professionals to facilitate knowledge exchange, capacity building and solidarity. Core outputs and activities are:i. Regional mobilization of members by conducting sub-regional meetings;ii. Preparation of a Constitution and Articles of Agreement;iii. Establishment of an APA website to improve access to information and networkingiv. Design of an APA logo;v. Publication of an African Planning Report: a cross-country analysis of the status and capacity of the planning professional across Africa for presentation at the 2012 Durban Planning Africa Conference; andvi. Resource mobilization.
4. APA Signatories (as of 15 March 2012)
- L'Association des Aménageurs et Urbanistes Algériens (Algerian Planners Association)
- L'Association des Urbanistes du Benin (Benin Association of Town Planners)
- L'Association des Urbanistes du Burkina Faso (Burkina Faso Association of Town Planners)
- L'Ordre National des Urbanistes du Cameroun (National Order of Town Planners Cameroon)
- Conseil des Urbanistes du Tchad (Chad Council of Town Planners)
- L'Ordre National des Urbanistes de Cote d 'Ivoire (National Order of Town Planners Ivory Coast)
- Egyptian Society of Planners
- Ghana Institute of Planners
- Kenyan Institute of Planners
- Malawi Institute of Physical Planners
- Mali Order of Planners
- Town Planning Association of Mauritius
- L'Association Marocaine des Urbanistes (Moroccan Association of Town Planners)
- Namibian Institute of Planners
- Nigerian Institute of Town Planners
- L'Ordre des Urbanistes du Senegal (Senegal Order of Town Planners)
- South African Planning Institute
- Town Planning Association of Tanzania
- L'Association des Urbanistes du Togo (Togo Association of Town Planners)
- L'Association Tunisienne des Urbanistes (Tunisian Association of Town Planners)
- Uganda Institute of Physical Planners
- Zambian Institute of Planners
- Zimbabwe Institute of Rural and Urban Planners