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Tshwane mayor envisions South Africa’s cities as labs

Kgosientso Ramokgopa, the mayor of South Africa's capital (formerly called Pretoria) sees innovation as the best antidote for economic stagnation. (GCIS photo)

Johannesburg and Cape Town dominate news about urban revitalization in South Africa. But there’s another city, Tshwane, that’s quietly poised for meteoric change. Tshwane is the post-Apartheid name for the country’s capital, formerly called Pretoria.

Natalie Greve reports for that Tshwane executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa wants South Africa’s cities to become “laboratories for innovation.” It’s the only path toward overcoming widespread unemployment, stunted development and economic stagnation, he says. Ramokgopa emphasized this point during a speech last week at the Infrastructure Investment Conference hosted by Gauteng, the province where Tshwane is located.

Tshwane is a youthful city, with more than two-thirds of the population below the age of 35. It’s also adding 10,000 residents a month. The capital aims to wean itself from fossil fuels while meeting escalating demand for energy. Initiatives include establishment of a solar farm and reliance on energy-efficient lighting, such as streetlamps powered by sunshine. The city also is tapping hydropower and deriving electricity from gas released by landfills. 


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