• Municipal Finance

Municipal Finance

Crucial to any development of city is a sustainable, stable financial base. One of the key areas of research is how municipalities generate income, collect revenue and budget for expenditure. Stable revenue and strategic expenditure are central to enabling growth and development in cities. Cities finances are affected by external policy choices and global economic environments. In this context, achieving an effective balance between capital infrastructure investment and efficient operations and management are at the heart of the financial challenges facing cities. A key partner to SACN’s municipal finance research is the Institute for Municipal Financial Officers (IMFO).


The state and health of finances of SACN members, including financial indicators, are examined in the bi-annual State of City Finances reports. The SACN also commissions studies into municipal finance in the SADC region.


  • Towards an Alternative Financing Model for Metropolitan Municipalities: The South African Cities Network in collaboration with the City of Tshwane initiated an expert panel based study to explore potential innovations and alternatives in city financing that will the address the perpetual gap and tension between fiscal space and development priorities. This report is therefore a consolidation of the work completed.
  • 2016
  • State of City Finances. Under the theme of Basics + Innovation, the report calls upon cities to address gaps and inefficiencies in the current system, while keeping a close eye on the complexity of their future role. It considers the need to rethink how cities are financed and funded, so that they are able to drive important agendas, such as green growth, the provision of sustainable human settlements and improved mobility through affordable and integrated public transport.

The aim of this guide is to inform a broader audience about the key messages emerging from the 2015 State of City Finances report, which is the latest in a series of reports published since 2006. The guide is not a summary of the main report but rather a translation of the content into meaningful city specific messages. Nine standard city

finances indicators, which first appeared in the 2011 guide, are used to analyse and explain the state of finances in the nine cities.