About Scale Up of Africa’s Sustainable Built Environment

ACECEN’s President Calls for Use of Modern Green Building Technologies


Story: Mohammed A. Abu

A one-day maiden Africa Continental Sustainable Built Environment Industry Summit (ACEACFMS 23) ended successfully at East Legon, Ghana’s capital city of Accra on Thursday December 14, with a formal declaration of the event as an annual one.

The declaration was made by Mr. Daniel Kontie President/CEO of the Africa Continental Engineering & Construction Network(ACECEN),

Earlier in his welcome address during the event he said that, the African Built Environment must be placed in a position to transition from the current brown construction techniques to Green building technologies.

“Like it or not, the reality is that, new trends are transforming the way the industry operates, from the design phase to the actual construction process, particularly at this time that the whole planet faces eminent dangers of climate change by virtue of our old industrial actions and inactions that has brought us to this global climate emergency situation”, Mr. Kontie added.

“Africans have always argued that Africa’s contribution to the current climate change catastrophy is insignificant compared to the West, that is true, however, what we fail to appreciate is that the problem was significantly created by the West but the solution lies in the hands of Africa and this is another 21st century industrial revolution for Africa to take advantage of” he intimated.

In a keynote speech delivered by Nana Obokese Ampah,,the Regent of Moree & Apagyahene of Asebu State on behalf Daasebre Kweku Ewusi VII, Omanhene of Abeadzi Traditional Council Area, Central Region, former Member of the Council of State, immediate past Vice President of National House of Chiefs, on the topic, “Land Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Land Acquisition for Sustainable Infrastructure Development in Ghana in the face of Climate Change” Nana noted that Ghana’s progress hinges on the delicate balance between development and environmental stewardship.

“As we embark on transformative infrastructure projects, it is imperative that we adopt a holistic approach that not only address our immediate needs but also safeguard for land for future generations” Nana intimated.

Sustainable land acquisition Nana underscored, must be the bedrock of Ghana’s endeavours. “We must ensure that every plot acquired for development aligns with environmental conservation principles. Incorporating green spaces, mitigating the impact on ecosystems, and adhering to sustainable construction practices are essential components of responsible land acquisition” Nana emphasized.

Speaking on the theme: “Integrating Sustainable Built Environment Industry for Socio-Economic Transformation Through the use of Digital Twin Technologies”, the Immediate Past President of the Federation of African Engineering Organizations (FAEO), Ing. Mrs. Carlien Bou-Chedid said, the use of Digital Twin technology creates a virtual or digital replica of physical objects, processes or systems to allow for real-time monitoring, analysis and optimization.

She explained that by leveraging Digital Twin Technology in the built environment, stakeholders can make more informed decisions, reduces costs, improve sustainability and enhance overall performance through the lifecycle of structures and cities.

She gave examples of these digital twin technologies as Autodesk BIM 360, which is a cloud-based platform for construction management; Dassault Systemes CATIA, a software suite by Dassault that supports product design and engineering, which is often used in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry to create digital representations of buildings and infrastructure. She also mentioned Cityzenith 5D Smart World, which supports urban planning, infrastructure management and smart city initiatives. She added that Esri Urban Observatory also provides tools for creating digital twins of cities.

Ing. Mrs. Carlien Bou-Chedid explained that Digital Twins rely on a network of sensors and devices strategically placed within the built environment to measure parameters, such as temperature, humidity, energy usage, water flow, air quality and more.

She mentioned that Sustainable Built Environment is one that protects people, places and the natural environment. It also involves creating safe and welcoming spaces and designing for longevity, flexibility, recoverability and reuse.

“Sustainable Built Environment also reduces building and urban infrastructure emissions for the long-term resilience of both people and planet. It is critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and tackling the climate crisis”, she concluded.


Making a presentation on “Refocusing Ghana’s Flood Preparedness and Response for Socio-Economic Transformation through the use of Digital Twin Technologies”, Prof. Divine Ahadzie, Centre for Settlements Studies at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST), Kumasi said, Ghana experiences major floods every two years for the last 20 years but our preparedness is not getting any better.

On recent VRA flood, the Prof. Ahadzie suggested that VRA should enhance their engagement with the communities by strengthening the use of twin-technologies plus to other community based technologies. He proposed a simplified community flood resilience framework to comprise the Chiefs, Assemblymen, MPs, NADMO, District Assembly, among others.

STEM students from Kumasi Academy SHS, made an impressive presentation of their Smart Urban Gardening Initiative, a Green technology revolution. According to the students, the Smart Urban Gardening project integrates advanced technology and sustainable practices for urban agriculture.

Panel Discussions

A panel session discussion on local content and use of local materials featured Prof.Ing. Emmanuel Appiah-Kubi, Director of Quality Assurance & Accreditation, Akenten Appiah Menka University of Skills, Training & Entrepreneurial Development(AAMUSTED), and Prof.Engr. Humphrey Danso, Dean Faculty of Technical Education, also of the same university.

They emphasized the important role bamboo could play in Ghana’s built environment industry and the dire need for using local earthen material and their combination with each other to strengthen them and to ensure their durability for use in the sustainable Built Environment industry.

Prof.Ing Appiah-Kubi gave an expose on Ghana’s bamboo resources potential and the important role it serves to play in the country’s sustainable Built Environment Industry. He also disclosed that in addition to the generally known 250,000 species of bamboo worldwide, other bamboo species native to the Volta and Northern Regions with yellow coloration have been identified in their research

Prof.Danso on his part, emphasized the need for using local earthen material and their combination with each other to strengthen them and to ensure their durability for use in the sustainable Built Environment industry.

Prof Danso also called for the use of local earthen materials like calcium clay and burned saw dust for the production of cement. This was in view of the fact that clinker based cement production has a big carbon footprint unlike the local materials.

One ton of cement produced from clinker based cement production Prof Danso said, produces a corresponding one (1) of C02 emission.

HATOF Foundation Presentation

The Founder/CEO of the HATOF Foundation, Dr. Samuel Dotse drove home the need for the African private sector players to take a second look at the content of their project Business Plans/Feasibility Studies so as to ensure they meet green climate financing criteria and to qualify for accessing financing from the Green Climate Fund.

Ghana’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning Dr. Doste said, was the national institution through which to access financing from the Green Climate Fund adding that, climate financing remains the only available mode of funding with the lowest payback cost or interest payment that cannot be compared with what the local banks charge. He also disclosed that the only Africa’s private sector player that have met the green climate funding criteria, and accesses their funding, is the Ecobank Group.

Among African NGOs HATOF he disclosed is the only one in Africa that has been able to access the Green Climate Fund for a Shea Landscape Carbon emission reduction project it is implementing in Northern sector of Ghana.

Dr. Dotse expressed the willingness and readiness of his organization to support Ghanaian, African private sector operators in how best to streamline their projects to meet the Green Climate Fund financing criteria.

HATOF is a local Ghanaian NGO that has since its inception in 1999 up till date, has been a pacesetter in energy, environmental governance and climate policy process-working towards addressing climate change and finance, renewable energy and energy efficiency, conservation and environmental protection, sustainable management among others.

HATOF did not only get incorporation in Canada this year and another in Gambia still pending. It was the only African NGO that held a side event in collaboration with its local Ghanaian partners and a foreign one during the recently ended COP28 global environmental event in Dubai under the auspices of the UN Environment Change.

African Continental Sustainable Built Environment Industry Excellence Awards 2023

The awards segment of the event was an important and integral part of the event during which 19 individuals, corporate and other institutions were appreciated under eight categories with a total of 20 awards for their respective roles in climate action and development of the sustainable Environment Industry.

Excellence in Technology & Innovation Award went to GM Bamboo Eco-City and Kumasi Academy Senior High School, Excellence in Digital Twin Technology also went to Siemens Ghana & South Africa PTY, Excellence in Climate Finance Mobilization and Training went to the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre and Gloria Bulus, Executive Director, Bridge the Gap Initiative, Kaduna, Nigeria among other awardees.

Of special mention in the awards segment, is the African Real Estate Company of the Year 2023-Low income category that went to Adom City Estates and Africa CEO of the Year Residential Estate-Lower income category 2023(Dr. Bright Adom).

Exhibition Component  

The event also drew exhibitors representing Engineering, Construction and Logistics firms among others who exhibited their modern technologies to the participants.

The Summit, a joint collaboration between the Africa Engineering & Construction Network(ACECEN) and GM Bamboo Eco-City leveraged the invaluable support from a number of Partners and Sponsors drawn from Ghana’s public sector and the Sustainable Built Environment Industry component of the private sector.


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