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New group to focus on urban safety in Africa

In Johannesburg last week, the African Forum for Urban Safety was launched to address a rise in crime that has accompanied Africa's rapid urbanization. (Mark Atkins /

As Africa undergoes rapid urbanization, crime, violence and extremism are on the rise. The newly launched African Forum for Urban Safety will team with cities to create safer environments, according to UN-Habitat, a lead sponsor.

The new organization was announced at the Africities Summit 2015, held from November 29 to December 3 in Johannesburg. It will strive to complement the efforts of national governments through the implementation of regional safety guidelines. The forum will work closely with the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa and the African Union, the announcement says.

Addressing the summit, UN-Habitat’s Director of Programmes Alioune Badiane told the audience that safety concerns range from common criminals to radicalized extremists engaged in “urban guerilla warfare.” By promoting safer cities, the forum could help municipalities attract more investment and maximize new development and infrastructure.


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