When Dakar, Senegal joined the 100 Resilient Cities network, there were no Chief Resilience Officers and no resilience strategies. Today, Dakar becomes the 21st city—and the first in Africa—to release a City Resilience Strategy.
Why is this important? Why does it matter?
Cities are complex and consist of vast networks of individuals, communities, institutions, and systems. A Resilience Strategy helps propel a city in a unified and clear direction, based on a comprehensive understanding of the city’s challenges and opportunities. These challenges can make a city vulnerable, and weaken its cohesion and ability to grow and thrive.
As a city, Dakar faces issues such as youth unemployment, energy insufficiency, environmental degradation, low civic engagement and coastal erosion from climate change. No single solution can address these challenges—solutions must be inclusive and cut across all sectors of society —from economic, institutional (faith-based), associative, and academic actors to the private sector, development and strategic partners— all must play a role.
To take on these challenges, the Resilience Strategy proposes 23 activities, from teaching the concept of resilience in basic education and developing green spaces, to better integrating the informal sector into sanitation and waste management and strengthening the dialogue between the central government and the municipal government of Dakar.
A city cannot become resilient overnight. A city does not become resilient by releasing a Resilience Strategy alone. However, Dakar is on a promising path. With leadership determined to address the city’s most intractable challenges, communities engaged and ready to act, and partners ready to support and join in this work, this city can turn challenges into opportunities. Dakar has created Africa’s first Resilience Strategy. Soon, the city will be joined by others from around the region and around the world. The next challenge for Dakar is to implement and we at 100RC look forward to standing with the city as they begin this work.