The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)


Scaling up essential services in African cities

UNOPS, the African Development Bank and Cities Alliance launched a new paper on providing critical infrastructure services in Africa during the World Urban Forum.

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The paper 'Scaling up essential services in African cities' examines some of the challenges of providing essential services – such as water, sanitation, renewable energy, waste management, and information and communications technology services – in African cities. It also looks at some of the current approaches to addressing these challenges and provides recommendations for closing identified gaps in services, taking into account sustainability and resilience.

"In the fastest urbanizing region in the world, Africa requires innovative approaches in its urban centres to leapfrog to more sustainable development pathways," said Samantha Stratton-Short, UNOPS Head of Strategic Initiatives.

This report demonstrates a way forward for more effective service delivery of basic services through infrastructure, especially for communities living in informal settlements and the urban poor.

Samantha Stratton-Short - UNOPS Head of Strategic Initiatives

UNOPS contribution to the paper includes recommendations based on experience supporting local governments with infrastructure planning and implementation in Africa, including The Gambia’s Greater Banjul 2040 project.

The paper is one of six papers supporting the Sustainable Urban Development Action Plan 2021-2025. The African Development Bank adopted the plan to guide investments into African cities to improve citizens’ quality of life.

The paper was officially launched at a World Urban Forum event organized by UNOPS in partnership with Cities Alliance and the African Development Bank. During the event, a panel of speakers from each of the three organizations discussed challenges, successful initiatives, innovative approaches and delivery models for providing critical infrastructure services in African cities.

UNOPS experts will participate in two other events during this year’s World Urban Forum.

An event hosted by the government of Finland will look at new tools aimed at strengthening the capacity of national stakeholders in building more sustainable buildings and housing sectors.

Another event hosted by the UN Office for Sustainable Development will provide local and regional governments with practical knowledge and information to support a swift and sustainable recovery from COVID-19.

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