The global population is now on track to exceed 9 billion by 2050, with 70 percent of the world projected to be living in cities. Over 90 percent of urban growth is occurring in developing countries, where an estimated 70 million new inhabitants are being added to urban settlements each year. This unprecedented rate of population growth and urbanization creates significant challenges for feeding cities, maintaining socio-economic stability and adapting to increasing risks from extreme climate events. In March 2013, START organized workshops in two African cities – Addis Ababa and Durban – to assess the state of knowledge, and capacity needs, in the continent vis-à-vis urban risk, vulnerability and resilience and urban food security. The purpose of this briefing note is to communicate key messages from of these important workshops to a broader audience and provide insights into knowledge and capacity gaps and needs in African cities that merit serious attention.