The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s College of Law and Management Studies (CLMS) has been organising the biennial Business Management Conference (BMC) for nearly a decade now. In 2018, the College will host the Fifth BMC from Thursday 23 August to Friday 24 August at Protea Hotel Edward located along Durban’s popular beachfront, the Golden Mile. The theme of the conference is: “African Cities of the Future: Management and Legal Solutions.”
African cities face an array of problems ranging from poverty to high income inequalities, rising unemployment and growing rural-urban migration, among others. These problems have led to an increase in slums, poor sanitation, ill health, declining quality of life, violent conflict, and homelessness. Despite these problems, there are several African cities that are among the most developed metropolitans in the world and many more that are growing rapidly, catching-up with the frontrunners.
“Mining towns like Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tete in northern Mozambique are reportedly the fastest growing economic nodes on the continent. But apart from the virtues of growth, they carry the true characteristics of a frontier town, including significant social problems and stubbornly high levels of poverty,” KPMG (2018).
Cape Town in South Africa was named the best place to visit in the world by both The New York Times and The Telegraph in 2014. The City’s well developed infrastructure is also regarded by many as the best in Africa. In 2018, however, Cape Town is failing to cope with the effects of drought. It has been projected that the City’s taps will run dry from July 9, 2018 (popularly known as Day Zero) (February 2018 estimate). According to the South African Weather Service, 2015 and 2016 were the driest seasons in Cape Town since 1921 and the situation worsened the following year when the city recorded the driest ever season in its history in 2017. Cape Town is also home to Africa’s second largest slum, Khayelitsha, with an estimated population of 400,000.
The water problems, however, are not only confined to Cape Town, but are also prevalent in other African cities. In addition, the water supply problem is not only due to drought but a multiplicity of other factors too. According to Collington and Vezina (2000), even the largest international water enterprises have had to admit that they have found it difficult to respond to demand in squatter areas, as witnessed by the low coverage of piped water networks in African capital cities such as Bamako (Mali), Cotonou (Benin), and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). It is estimated that piped sewerage is but a distant dream for 90% of urban Africans (Collington and Vezina, 2000).