Press release: Renowned speaker Dr. Arkebe Oqubay to deliver keynote address at academic and policy-relevant lecture on sustainable growth in African cities

Helsinki, Finland – The United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) and the African Cities Research Consortium (ACRC) are proud to announce a prestigious lecture by Dr. Arkebe Oqubay, former Senior Minister, Special Adviser to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, and former Mayor of Addis Ababa. This exciting event, scheduled for Thursday, 9 November 2023, from 16:00 to 17:30, will be held at the Event Square at Helsinki City Hall, Pohjoisesplanadi 11-13, Sofiankatu 1, Helsinki, Finland.

Event overview:

Dr. Arkebe Oqubay’s lecture, titled Sustainable cities and structural transformation in Africa in the twenty-first century, will address pivotal topics relevant to global development studies, urban planning, political science, social sciences, and public policy. With Africa’s population projected to reach 2.5 billion by 2050, this lecture explores the vital role of urbanization in shaping global development. This lecture will explore the vital connections between Dr. Arkebe Oqubay’s insights on urban governance, the role of mayors, and the contributions of advanced economies to the challenges facing African cities. This event also provides the opportunity to understand how Dr. Oqubay’s insights hold relevance for Finland and Helsinki, shedding light on what we can learn from Africa and how Finland can contribute to these critical issues.

Key discussion points:

  • The role of African cities in driving structural transformation

  • Policies needed to foster favorable conditions for urban growth

  • Synergies between urban development and structural transformation

  • Strategies for addressing climate change and achieving green transformation

  • Maximizing cities' capacity to create employment opportunities

  • The importance of urban governance and the role of mayors

  • The contribution of advanced economies in meeting these challenges

About Dr. Arkebe Oqubay:

Dr. Arkebe Oqubay is a distinguished academic and policymaker with over 30 years of experience in shaping strategic economic decisions. Currently serving as the British Academy Global Professor at SOAS University of London, Dr. Oqubay’s unique combination of scholarly expertise and practical experience makes him an invaluable source of insights on the future of African cities.


  • 15:30-16:00: Registration

  • 16:00-16:10: Introduction by UNU-WIDER Director Kunal Sen

  • 16:10-16:55: Keynote: 'Sustainable cities and structural transformation in Africa' by Dr. Arkebe Oqubay

  • 16:55-17:05: Discussant response by Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury | Deputy Director General, Africa and the Middle East, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

  • 17:05-17:30: Audience Q&A

Media Contact:

For media inquiries or to request an interview with Dr. Arkebe Oqubay or other event speakers, please contact:

Tristan Reid
Communications and Editorial Assistant, UNU-WIDER

About the African Cities Research Consortium (ACRC):

The African Cities Research Consortium (ACRC) is dedicated to advancing research, policy, and practice related to African cities. ACRC collaborates with a network of partners to enhance urban development in Africa. This lecture is part of the African Cities Research Consortium – the structural transformation domain, UNU-WIDER's collaborative project with ACRC. To learn more about this project, visit our project page.

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Description automatically generatedThis lecture by Dr. Arkebe Oqubay promises to provide a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing African cities in the 21st century. We encourage all interested parties, including academics, policymakers, and students, to attend and participate in this enlightening discussion.

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