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Scaling up essential services in African cities

Mr. Gustavo Goy Garcia


date June 29, 2022 | 13:30 - 15:00
Multifunction Hall Room 17
United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
Equitable urban futures
NE 117


The panel discussion will be organized by UNOPS in partnership with Cities Alliance and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The session will be moderated by UNOPS and will include speakers from the African Development Bank (AfDB), Cities Alliance, UNOPS, and the government of The Gambia. This session will focus on the challenges, successful initiatives, innovative approaches and service delivery models for the provision of critical infrastructure services in African cities. The session aims to bring in the perspective of different actors in African cities - AfDB’s approach as a financier; the challenges faced and solutions implemented by the government in The Gambia; and the perspective and priorities of UN agencies to support governments in achieving sustainable urban development. The ‘Scaling Up Essential Services in African Cities’ paper will also be launched at the session.

In 2021, the AfDB developed a Sustainable Urban Development Action Plan (SUDAP), a key planning document guiding the operational policies and engagements in the urban sector for 2021–2025. The framework will define guiding principles for Bank interventions to support urban development by providing an appropriate mix of project and program lending, analytical and advisory services for policy and sector reforms, institutional design to promote public-private partnerships, and capacity building. In order to dimension and detail the range of challenges besetting urban service delivery, and map replicable and scalable initiatives being implemented in Africa, six background papers were prepared. The paper on ‘Essential Services in African Cities’ was developed by UNOPS in partnership with Cities Alliance. The paper includes a statement of the nature of the challenges, the current approaches being adopted by African cities, the gap identified for the AfDB, and recommendations for specific interventions & programmes for the AfDB, to be incorporated into the SUDAP. The recommendations stem from UNOPS’ experience supporting local governments with infrastructure planning and implementation, such as the Greater Banjul 2040 project.

City-led innovation in urban infrastructure development and service delivery is on the rise in African cities. This session will focus on transformative strategies that offer potential to meet service delivery needs in a cost-effective manner and sustainable manner for the provision of water, sanitation, renewable energy, ICT and waste management for all.


1. To disseminate replicable and scalable city-led innovation in urban infrastructure development and service delivery in Africa.

2. To launch the Scaling up essential Services in African Cities paper that focuses on challenges and transformative strategies that can be adopted in African cities to meet service delivery needs for the provision of water, sanitation, renewable energy, ICT and waste management for all.

3. To contribute to the dialogue on sustainable, resilient and inclusive infrastructure service delivery in African cities.

Session speakers

Mr. Marcus Mayr
Head of Urban and Municipal Development Fund
African Development Bank (AfDB)
Ms. Giulia Maci
Head of Cities for Women programme
Cities Alliance
Mr. Julian Baskin
Principal Urban Advisor
Cities Alliance
Mr. Philip Maina
Project Architect
Mr. Gustavo Goy Garcia
Infrastructure and Project Management Specialist