(AfDB) - The African Development Bank has launched the Urban and Municipal Development Fund, a multi-donor trust fund to scale up interventions in urban development and drive sustainable growth in cities across the African continent.
The launch event, held on Wednesday, 3 April 2019 at the Bank’s Abidjan headquarters, was attended by members of the business and diplomatic community in Cote d’Ivoire, development partners and donors, senior management of the Bank, representatives of municipalities from several African countries, and key players and stakeholders in the urban development space.
His Excellency Mr. Hugues Chantry, Ambassador of Belgium in Cote d’Ivoire, led the Belgian delegation to the event. Pierre Guislain, the Bank’s Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization; and Karin Isaksson, Executive Director for Nordic countries and India and the incoming Managing Director for the Nordic Development Fund, also attended the ceremony.
Senior Bank officials at the launch described it as a timely response to the challenges of rapid urbanization 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 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.
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
During the presentation session, the fund’s initial partners presented their stake in the fund and their focus areas for sustainable investment in urban development. Stefan Atchia, Officer in charge of the UMDF at the Bank, gave a presentation on how the fund would provide integrated city planning expertise and technical support for municipalities.
Aage Jorgenson, Country Program Manager at the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) spoke about priority interventions in Africa in the fund’s focus area of climate change resilience.
Patrick Heinrichs, Export Finance Manager of AWEX presented the importance of a combined academic and technical approach to solve the challenges of urban development in Africa.