african fabbers school

site: cameroon (africa)



500million population that is going to live in urban areas in africa in 2020.
90% of whom are still living in slums. (un habitat) 

the problems of african societies are often depicted by our media as just an object for humanitarian aid. however the african fabbers project [afp], after more than 10 years of applied research activities between morocco, ghana, mali, burkina faso and senegal, agrees with major international analysts and agencies on the fact that three powerful positive trends are likely to sustain africa’s growth in the coming years. first of all, as mentioned by undp the continent has a young population with a growing labour force – a highly valuable asset in an ageing world. in 2034, africa is expected to have the world’s largest working-age population of 1.1 billion.


therefore, an innovative education system is needed in order to respond to the lack of universities in the region and to create new stable and qualified jobs. under this assumption, the [afp] is developing, the first school of urban ecologies, digital fabrication and self-construction in africa. the african fabbers school is based in cameroon, in the framework of the camon project powered by the COE and financed by the italian agency for international cooperation.



the school is now creating a network of european and african universities with the aim of sharing knowledge by a learning-by-doing approach. secondly, africa is still urbanizing and much of the economic benefit lies ahead. productivity in cities is three times as high as in rural areas and, over the next decade, an additional 187 million africans will live in cities, according to the united nations. this urban expansion is contributing to rapid growth in consumption by households and businesses, but at the same time is generating social and environmental problems. as a matter of fact, a new model of circular economy has to be researched within an interdisciplinary approach, in order to shape a more sustainable relationship between urban and rural development. therefore the [afp] is implementing the af housing research programme, a community-oriented initiative developed with the support of the school. the programme aims to explore off-grid housing scalable solutions by bridging vernacular architecture with more technological systems inspired by jean prouve's tropical house. thirdly, african economies are well positioned to benefit from rapidly accelerating technological changes that can unlock growth and leapfrog the limitations and costs of physical infrastructures in important areas of economic life. this aspect could be crucial to develop local 4.0 industries, which will able to transform and repurpose local materials within an ecological approach that may reconcile nature with tekne'. for this reason the [afp] will open up to the african fabbers factory, an urban fabrication laboratory connected to a network of local and international industries able to design and make high and low tech sustainable solutions in the field of urban design and building constructions in africa.



Project by
Urban FabLab

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In collaboration with
COE - associazione centro orientamento educativo



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