This paper provides a critical examination of the current international urban agenda for African cities, with a particular focus on the Cities Alliance discourse of ‘Cities Without Slums’ and UN-Habitat’s ‘Slum Upgrading Facility’. Through this analysis a global architecture of financial and ideological power is brought into view. The paper first identifies the neoliberal ideological principles underpinning these internationally-promoted initiatives for ‘resourcing’ African cities. It then traces the location of this agenda within the broader global emergence neoliberal urbanism and financialisation. The final part of the paper considers the current agenda for African cities in light of earlier colonial urban discourse.