The impact of foreign investment in African cities decrypted by UN-Habitat and AfDB experts during the Habitat III summit in Quito

31/10/2016
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During Habitat III, in Quito, Ecuador, the African Development Bank and UN-Habitat organized a networking event to present and discuss the preliminary findings of the first phase of research for the State of African Cities 2017 report.

The forthcoming publication – the fourth issue in UN-Habitat’s The State of African Cities report series – is being prepared under a partnership between the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (HIS) and UN-Habitat and is sponsored by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the UK Department for International Development (DfID). The publication, which focuses on greenfield foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into Africa, is set to be launched in June 2017. The report seeks to evaluate the role of FDI in achieving better urban development in African cities.

After a short introduction of the three first Stat of African Cities reports by Dr. Jos Maseland of UN-Habitat, Prof. Ronald Wall of the Witwatersrand University and IHS, presented the findings of Phase 1 of the ongoing research programme for the report – analysis on Africa-wide FDI patterns – and outlined the direction of ongoing empirical research on the economic impacts of FDI flows on four case study African cities: Abidjan, Cairo, Johannesburg and Kigali.

The research highlighted that FDI is a matter of significant importance to the economic development of the African continent. However, not all forms of FDI are sustainable in the longer term; notably investments in the extractive sectors. Rather, Africa should seek to attract investments that lead to employment generation, food security and improved municipal finances, the research noted.

AfDB was represented at the October 17 meeting by Amadou Oumarou, Director of the Transport, ICT and Urban Development Department, who underscored the Bank’s commitments in long term urban development, as a way to improve African cities’ competitiveness and attract more foreign investments. AfDB injected more than US $800 million in loans and grants in urban transport projects in the last five years, improving the logistic chains for firms, and the daily life of millions of commuters. In 2016, major urban transport project have been financed in Kampala and Accra.