by: Thierry Paulais
This volume addresses the issues of financing urban growth of the
African continent -- which has the highest urban growth rate on the
planet -- in the next decades. Considerable investment will be needed
to sustain this level of growth and to clear up accumulated backlogs.
At the same time, decentralization has resulted in increased
responsibilities for local government; but in most cases, institutional
reforms were carried out without the transfer of a sufficient level of
resources, and local capacities in governance and project management
Which mechanisms will finance these extensive needs, and how will
African local governments meet these needs? Specifics on how to finance
African cities have not been studied. The actual scale of this market
has not been fully grasped. A systemic approach to this market is
difficult because of its diversity (country size; institutional
context; characteristics of urban network; availability of capital
market, currency, etc.) and a lack of data. Donors’ assistance
methods in the sector are disparate, marked by disputes between
different schools of thought; special-purpose vehicles created by
donors operate according to a variety of methods and with wide-ranging
and sparsely disseminated results.
What is the best way to transform these systems, often antiquated in
many respects, into modern financing systems that facilitate access to
domestic markets, mobilize local savings and reinforce local government
autonomy? There is no single answer to this question in regard to such
a variety of institutional and economic contexts. The main objective of
the study is to clarify the debates and to enlighten the choices of
African decision-makers at local and national level.
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