Securing Municipal Finance in Southern Africa

This publication is based on presentations made during a workshop on Sustainable Municipal Finance in Southern Africa. The meeting, sponsored by the SACN with the support of the World Bank Institute and the Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility, took place in Johannesburg on 2-3 October 2008.


If Southern Africa’s rapidly growing urban population is to experience more rapid economic and social development, the cities of the region need to rise to the challenge of upgrading and  expanding basic infrastructure. Such infrastructure is not only essential to support economic growth, but also supports the kind of progress envisioned in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals: ending poverty and hunger, providing universal education, achieving gender equality, child and maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, environmental sustainability and global partnership.


Like the rest of the developing world, Africa south of the Sahara is contending with the effects of rapid urbanisation, supported in recent years by higher global commodity prices and, consequently, international investment flows that have sought to cash in on the resource boom. In 2008, according to the United Nations State of World Population 2007 report, for the first time in history more than half of the world population, 3.3 billion people, will be living in urban areas. The report notes that between 2000 and 2030, “Africa’s urban population will rise from
294 million to 742 million. Many of these new urbanites will be poor. Their future, the future of cities in developing countries, the future of humanity itself, all depend very much on decisions made now.” The question is how to fund such development.