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Surbana International Consultants: the masterplanner of choice in Africa.

With more than 50 years of experience, creating masterplans for more than 90 cities in 30 countries around the world, Surbana International Consultants are globally recognised as experts in sustainable urban planning. The company is also credited with completing one million homes for more than 80% of Singapore's population.

Worldwide, the company's projects have enhanced the value of land amounting to more than 40 times the area of Singapore, and improved the lives of more than 100 million people.

Given the growth of Africa's urban space, Surbana International Consultants is being called on to plan and design urban built environments across Africa.

Projects have included the Royal Bafokeng Nation in North West Province, South Africa, primarily to implement land utilisation strategies for housing and its related public facilities for employment, business and recreational uses. This covered an area of 1200km2.

In Nigeria, Surbana also took on the challenge to conceive a community-centric masterplan for a new township on Lekki Peninsula, 35km east of Victoria Island, Lagos.

The 1,560ha township masterplan design focused on building residential neighbourhoods to accommodate a population that would service the demands of Lagos's expansion programme.

In East Africa, Surbana had completed in Rwanda, the detailed master planning of the City of Kigali. Surbana's engagement with the City of Kigali started in 2008, when the City asked Surbana to plan for its new CBD and the entire Nyarugenge District, one of the three Districts in Kigali, where the CBD is located.

In 2012, the City of Kigali commissioned detailed plans for Gasabo and Kicukiro districts to complete the Kigali City Master Plan. This also facilitates the review of the planning direction and strategies for the entire city and helps in developing a comprehensive city wide zoning plan which integrates all previous plans and policies.

In June 2014, UNDP and the Burundi government, impressed with the Kigali Master Plan, awarded Surbana the contract to develop the master plan for Greater Bujumbura 2045 covering 850km2 through the Singapore government.

In Dec 2014, once again through the Singapore Government under another Government to Government collaboration programme, it secured from the Tanzanian government the planning of Arusha City (700km2) and Mwanza City (550km2).

Then in another major coup, on 15th May, Surbana (in collaboration with Greater Kingdom Beijing) achieved a major breakthrough when it won its biggest master-planning contract in Africa (9600km2) in a public tender to plan Kinshasa province and city.

African Business talked to Andre Kimbuta, Governor of Kinshasa.

What prompted you to begin this development?

The Provincial Government of Kinshasa was in search of solutions that could meet two objectives, namely: On the one hand, translate into action the vision of His Excellency, the President of the Republic, embodied by the concept of the revolution of modernity and on the other hand, at the same time materialize the aspiration of the Kinshasa people to live decently in healthy environmental conditions.

It is therefore a starting imperative: we must provide the city of Kinshasa with a real General Development Plan, a true reference planning document for a remarkable and qualitative change in the space of Kinshasa. This document and its various Development Plans should reflect, state and set the direction of the future of the city as an agglomeration and living environment which counts over to million inhabitants.

It's a real challenge that needs to be faced to hoist Kinshasa to the pace of a megalopolis that will play a leading role in the development of Central Africa.

What are the social and economic goals of this redevelopment project?

The overall objective of the project is the development of a general development plan for the city that provides the Provincial Executives an important instrument enabling them to master the management of the urban space and open the way for a rationalization of all its resources.

More specifically, it is to engage the City in a process of economic development, with a wealth creation pledge that addresses the multiple challenges related to the access to basic social services that are:

* Electricity and drinking water;

* Decent public transport for easy mobility;

* Basic health care and education at the elementary and primary level;

* Security for the people and their property;

* Convenient habitat.

Finally, the specific objective of the project is also to empower local authorities to have the faculties to control the expansion and growth of the city in a reasonable manner.

What are the attractions of Singapore's model for development?

Tire example of Singapore is a real miracle, a case study around the world. It is attractive for several reasons, particularly in the area of housing, spatial planning, public cleanliness, social organization and promotion of private initiatives and public services of the state. It is mainly competitiveness, rigor and discipline in the workplace that make the difference in the Singaporean model.

The city of Kinshasa firmly believes in the positivity of the Singaporean experience, in order to use it in view of ensuring a balanced development of its living space.

Why did you settle on hiring Singaporean expertise for your project?

The collaboration between Singapore and Kinshasa goes back some time. Indeed, two years ago, the opportunity was given to the city of Kinshasa to establish good and special relations with Surbana. Exchanged ideas and experiences through several working meetings helped to gauge the ability, seriousness and soundness of the work done by Surbana in Singapore and other countries.

In addition, after a rigorous selection process through an international tender for the studies for the development of a master plan launched by the city, Surbana presented a very coherent proposal, based on a innovative methodology for strategic planning and accompanied by an undeniable added value. In its proposal, Surbana did not only use a comprehensive conceptual approach, but also presented a dossier with a very substantial content. This proposal provides for three planning layers: the regional plan, the master plan of Kinshasa and the detailed master plan of 24 municipalities.

These three types of plan are developed using a methodology beyond the conventional approach of planning and are based on a strong and progressive vision. The product Surbana provides will be both a physical development plan and a roadmap for a better and prosperous future for the City to enable it to adequately fulfil the duties recognised in an urban area.
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Comment:Surbana International Consultants: the masterplanner of choice in Africa.(SINGAPORE-AFRICA)
Publication:African Business
Geographic Code:60AFR
Date:Jun 1, 2015
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