AfDB, DFID and stakeholders reflect on land value, innovative and sustainable urban infrastructure finance

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“The urban population in Africa will increase by an additional 300 million people in the next 20 years. Given the limitation of current financing mechanisms, it is critical to find more innovative and sustainable funding sources,” Amadou Oumarou, Director of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Infrastructure, Transport, Urban Development and ICT Department (OITC), told participants in a stakeholder meeting, Thursday, June 4, 2015 in Abidjan.

The meeting was hosted by the Bank Group, in collaboration with the UK Department for International Development (DFID), under the theme: “Urban infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa – harnessing land values, housing and transport.”

“It is critical to find more innovative and sustainable funding sources, given that urban population in Africa will increase by an additional 300 million people in the next two decades,” Oumarou, said, stressing the need for working differently to move the agenda forward. “There is a dire need for huge investments in urban infrastructure,” he added.

Discussions revolved around research findings led by the African Centre for Cities (ACC), at Cape Town University, South Africa, and funded by DFID. It proposes mechanisms to exploit land values to finance urban infrastructure, particularly housing and transport. DFID and ACC sought the cooperation of the African Development Bank on this issue in the context of AfDB’s urban development strategy.

The meeting also provided an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss broader issues associated with infrastructure finance in Sub-Saharan African cities in order to allow information to be shared by development agencies and development finance institutions based on their experience and programme work.

Other key issues explored included, developing strategic partnerships on knowledge production with key urban development institutions in Africa, municipal funding options of urban infrastructure, as well as strengthening AfDB’s leadership in the urban development sector.

It is worth recollecting that within the framework of AfDB’s urban development strategy, it has started supporting cities and municipalities with capacity-building, city development strategies, land registry systems, land asset management strategies, etc.

The meeting also brought together institutions working on urban issues, including, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), UN-Habitat, Cities Alliance, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa – and delegates from Ghana and Burkina Faso, as well as AfDB experts.

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