AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina (2nd from right) with Jamie Cooper (center) and mayors from across Africa in Marrakech, Morocco, November 9, 2023.
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 13, 2023 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/-The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, on Thursday pledged greater commitment to the development of cities and stressed the need to increase investments and the autonomy of municipalities, engines of economic growth on the continent.
The Bank boss spoke at a high-level forum for mayors titled: “Leveraging cities and municipalities for national development”, held on the sidelines of the Market Days 2023 of the Africa Investment Forum in Marrakech, Morocco.
The meeting, co-hosted by the African Development Bank and Big Win Philanthropy(link is external), brought together mayors and governors from several major African cities, including Lagos, Dakar, Addis Ababa Abidjan, Kigali and Nairobi, as well as representatives of governments and financial and development organizations.
“The Mayors Forum launches what we hope will be the start of a new collaboration between financial institutions, cities, states and municipalities, to accelerate Africa’s growth and development,” said Mr. Adesina in his welcome address. “It also shows the priority that Africa Investment Forum partners and investors will place on improving investment in projects at the subnational level,” he added.
The session also included a presentation of a new report on African cities, titled “From Millions to Billions: Financing the Development of African Cities”, commissioned by the African development bank.
Speaking on behalf of the Mayor of Marrakech, Ms. Khadija Bouhrachi, Deputy Mayor, said that the city of Marrakech is a hospitable city for all visitors. As cities lure with the promise of higher incomes, governments must invest in services, green spaces, highly diverse markets and decent, well-paid jobs, she said: “Economic performance plays a role. crucial role in the proper functioning of our economies.
Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, secretary general of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), said the future of this continent was linked to how policy makers could make cities more attractive and welcoming to populations and young people.
“Bankers need to change their perspective when dealing with local governments. We welcome this event which is trying to move things forward,” Mr Mbassi said, adding that research and innovation are also important elements to take into account.
Going from millions to trillions: new report reveals challenges and opportunities for Africa
The report’s findings show a dramatic increase in population numbers: Africa’s urban population is expected to almost triple over the next 25 years, reaching 1.5 billion people by 2050. The city of Lagos will have around 24, 5 million people in 2050, more than 32 times its size when Nigeria gained independence in 1960, the report said.
To meet this challenge, it is estimated that African countries will need to invest around 5.5% of their annual GDP in their cities, or around $140 billion per year.
Astrid Haas, economist and co-author of the report, said it was based on a “bottom-up” analysis of the different budgets of ten African cities. “Urbanization is the megatrend reshaping the African continent,” she said, “no country has ever developed without an urban plan.”
The report highlights several key strategies for cities: creating enabling environments, increasing revenue flows to cities, vision, improving fiscal autonomy and solvency.
Stating that “cities are the engine of economic growth,” Ms. Haas shared success stories from across the continent and the world, such as China, Brazil, Cape Town and the city of Abidjan — with its “ bold and deliberate investments in the field of transport. »
“It’s time to think big; African cities hold the power. Let us act boldly to “transform Africa’s future for generations to come,” said Ms. Haas.
Jamie Cooper, founding president of Big Win Philanthropy, praised Ethiopia, a pioneer in reducing malnutrition, and its capital Mayor Adanech Abebe, who was in attendance, for the role she has played in the transformation of his city. In less than a year, Addis Ababa closed more than 100 streets to car traffic on Sundays, so children and families could walk and play. Ms Abebe also pledged to create 12,000 playgrounds in the capital, Ms Cooper said.
“Everyone has their own vision. We look forward to continuing your projects with you,” Ms. Cooper said.
African Development Bank promises more for cities and urban areas
The African Development Bank spends $2 billion annually on projects and programs that have a direct positive impact on urban areas across Africa, Adesina said. These projects cover a wide range of areas, including housing, transport, access to drinking water and the improvement of sanitation and wastewater disposal systems.
It also has an Urban and Municipal Development Fund (UMDF), which supports 15 cities, with technical assistance, capacity building for integrated urban planning, governance, project preparation, and broader urban management , including municipal fiscal management.
But the institution will go even further, said Mr. Adesina. “As mayors work hard to tap this and other sources of public funding, attracting private investment into cities should be a higher priority.”
He outlined four ways to do this: by granting greater autonomy and fiscal responsibility to cities and towns; using debt securities that could provide greater financing; by developing better mortgage financing to make cities more livable with access to affordable housing; and providing additional regulatory space to raise funds in local capital markets by issuing municipal bonds and green bonds to boost their own financing.
Mr. Adesina gave other good news regarding the institution’s board approvals: The UMDF, which has mobilized $50 million for the period 2023-27, will be used to support cities and municipalities and will be shared according to a ratio of 60% for the preparation of urban projects, 20% for urban planning and 20% for municipal access to financial support ecosystems.
“In addition, the African Development Bank will provide loans for a projected amount of approximately $2 billion in 2024 to your cities and municipalities,” Adesina announced.
“To support your efforts as mayors to increase investments in your cities, the Africa Investment Forum will begin prioritizing bankable projects that can secure investments for cities,” Mr. Adesina said. “The AIF program will permanently integrate special sessions dedicated to cities,” said Mr. Adesina. “The AIF will prioritize bankable projects from governors and mayors of cities and municipalities.”
Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) for the African Development Bank.
Source : African Media Agency (AMA)