The African Development Bank (Banque africaine de Développement) hosted the launch event of the Urban and Municipal Development Fund (UMDF) at the Bank’s Headquarters in Abidjan 3 April 2019.

The Urban and Municipal Development Fund (UMDF) of the African Development Bank is a multi-donor Trust Fund to scale up interventions in urban development and drive sustainable growth in cities across the African continent.

The ceremony was attended by H.E. Mr Hugues Chantry, Ambassador of Belgium in Cote d’Ivoire, Representing the African Development Bank (the Bank) were the Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, Pierre Guislain; and the Executive Director for Nordic countries and India and upcoming Managing Director for the Nordic Development Fund, Karin IsakssonAmadou Oumarou, Director of Infrastructure and Urban Development at the Bank and Valerie Dabady, Division Manager of the Resource Mobilization Department, opened the event and thanked the initial donors for their commitment to the fund, namely the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), Wallonia (AWEX) and the Secretariat of Economic Affairs of the Swiss Confederation. They described the launch of the UMDF as a timely response to the challenges of rapid urbanization in Africa and the strong need for integrated city planning expertise.

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. UMDF 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, 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, presented how the fund would provide integrated city planning expertise and technical support for municipalities. Aage Jorgensen, Program Manager at the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) spoke on priority interventions in Africa in the fund’s focus area of climate change resilience. Patrick Heinrichs, Export Finance Manager of the Wallonia Export Investment Agency (AWEX), presented the importance of a combined academic and technical approach to solve the challenges of urban development in Africa.

The open discussion which followed the presentations was centred around how the UMDF could assist cities in drafting their master plan 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 held after the launch event to discuss practical implementation of the fund and eligibility of cities for assistance by the UMDF.

The event was attended by a Belgian delegation and senior representatives of African municipalities and private sector delegates with a stake in urban development in African cities.

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