Postgraduate Research &
Innovation Symposium (PRIS)

Keynote address

The role of Research in developing African cities of the future

Cities in developing countries face challenges and opportunities that often differ from those faced by cities in the developed world. Factors influencing development such as poverty and rapid population growth, coupled with urbanisation, sustainability and response to climate change, demand innovative solutions. Applied research is a critical factor in uncovering innovative ways of meeting these challenges and setting Africa on a new path that diverges from traditional solutions used up to now. Specifically, the
sanitation circular economy and the food-energy-water nexus provide concrete examples of how research is
enabling innovation.

Delivered by Neil Macleod | Honorary Research Fellow at UKZN; Water and Sanitation specialist consultant to the World Bank and others

Neil Macleod

Neil Macleod has a BSc in civil engineering and an MBA, and is currently completing his PhD. He has 43 years’ experience in the water and sanitation sector, with 22 years as the Head of Water and Sanitation in the eThekwini Municipality. eThekwini Water and Sanitation won the Stockholm Industry Water Prize in 2014.

He has held the post of Director at various water management bodies: Umgeni Water (2005 to 2009); Municipal Infrastructure Investment Unit (MIIU) (1998 to 2006); Johannesburg Water (Pty) Limited (2000 to 2010); Building Partners for Development in Water and Sanitation, based in London (2000 to 2013, and Chair of the Board from 2009); and the Toilet Board Coalition, a UK-based private sector initiative to develop a sanitation solution for the urban poor.

A registered professional engineer, he is an Honorary Fellow of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE), Senior Fellow of the Water Institute of Southern Africa, Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Municipal Engineering of Southern Africa, Fellow of the SA Academy of Engineering and Fellow of the International Water Association. He served as President of SAICE in 2007.