Offering support to governments and responding to the rapid growth of urbanisation, last week the African Development Bank launched the Urban and Municipal Development Fund (UMDF).
Senior bank officials at the launch described it as a timely response to the challenges of rapid urbanisation in Africa and the strong need for integrated city planning expertise.
They also thanked the initial donors - the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), Wallonia Export Investment Agency (AWEX) and the Secretariat of Economic Affairs of the Swiss Confederation - for their commitment to the fund.
Discussions and presentations were centred around how the UMDF could assist cities in drafting their master plans for urban development, support dialogue between national and local governance structures and create learning opportunities between cities.
The first oversight meeting between the partners was also held after the launch event, to discuss practical implementation of the fund and the eligibility of cities for accessing the fund.
Improving resilience to manage urban growth
The UMDF is designed to improve resilience and better manage urban growth, by means of tailored technical assistance to municipalities and urban entities in the areas of urban planning and mobility, project preparation, and municipal governance and finance.
The fund will focus on areas identified as being detrimental to accessing finance, the main ones being the preparation, management and implementation of bankable projects by municipalities, updates to master plans, the review of the regulatory environment to facilitate access to market financing and the use of tools to manage and deliver municipal services