High-level report on the multidisciplinary dialogue on Africa-US city relations

Enhancing Africa-US City Partnerships: Insights from the Africa-US Cities Conference

The Africa-US Cities Conference represents the culmination of numerous activities and partnerships centred around the principles and practices of city diplomacy. This includes citizen and digital diplomacy, as well as the international dimensions of African cities. The project aims to foster Africa-US city partnerships by facilitating research-based public engagements and knowledge production. Its objectives are to identify areas of cooperation, share best practices, and glean lessons from existing interactions between cities in Africa and the US. Additionally, the project seeks to deepen academic understanding of interactions between these cities and the theoretical and practical implications thereof.

Objectives of the Africa-US Cities Project and Conference:

  1. Knowledge Production: Produce insights into how African and US cities can strategically engage as international actors.
  2. Research Outputs: Engage in knowledge production through research articles, edited journal articles, and books.
  3. Policy Impact: Share project-generated knowledge with continental, regional, and national policymakers.
  4. Stakeholder Engagement: Connect African and US scholars, policymakers, practitioners, and professionals interested in city relations, diplomacy, and development.
  5. Partnership Promotion: Provide information on past, current, and potential areas of partnership.
  6. Capacity Building: Explore methods to strengthen Africa-US city partnerships and research.

Journey to the 2023 Conference:

The 2023 conference was the result of a series of activities and events:

  • April 2019: A conference held in partnership with the cities of Johannesburg, Tshwane, Brand South Africa, and various research organisations.
  • March 2020: Establishment of relations between ACSUS and Sister Cities International (SCI) culminated in a memorandum of understanding. ACSUS became an academic partner for the SCI US-Africa initiative.
  • August and October 2020: Virtual “COVID-19 and Cities Forums” series.
  • October 22-23, 2020: Participation in a BRICS + Urban Governance Forum with ACSUS as co-host.
  • 2020 – 2023 (various dates): Series of virtual meetings between ACSUS and various SCI southern African sister cities.
  • April 2021: Academic symposium and networking forum with Sister Cities International, Wayne State University, and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
  • September 2022: Virtual meeting with scholars from historically black colleges and universities facilitated through SCI and North Carolina Central University.

For a detailed account, you can refer to the full report.

This conference stands as a testament to the commitment to fostering stronger ties between African and US cities, ultimately contributing to global cooperation and development.