Update on the Cities Alliance Country Programmes

Over the past few months our Country Programmes have moved forward, with the launch of new activities and the transition of projects from the legacy portfolio managed by the World Bank to the new UNOPS-hosted platform.

Over the past few months, the Cities Alliance Country Programmes have continued to move forward, with the launch of new activities as well as the transition of projects from the legacy portfolio managed by the World Bank to the new UNOPS-hosted platform. Here is just a snapshot of what has been going on.

Burkina Faso

The Burkina Faso Country Programme was formally launched in November 2013 with the signing of two major grant agreements with key partners:

  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning, to coordinate national stakeholders, facilitate dialogue, and roll out a national urban policy. This includes establishing a National Urban Forum, the creation of an urban database (as well as a Burkina State of the Cities Report), and municipal training workshops. The $1.1m grant also provides funding to establish a unit within the Ministry to coordinate and oversee the programme.


  • UN-Habitat, a grant of $957,000 to provide technical assistance and capacity building for the Ministry, the AMBF, Laboratoire Citoyenneté and community-based organisations in order to support the participatory planning process.


Also, in October 2013 the Cities Alliance, Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and United Cities and Local Governments Africa (UCLGA) signed an agreement to implement the Know Your City campaign in Taabtenga and Nioko, two major poor neighbourhoods of Ouagadougou. SDI will continue to partner with Laboratoire Citoyenneté over the next two years of Country Programme implementation.


In Ghana, Cities Alliance funding is supporting the design of a $150 million IDA water and sanitation project, which is already bringing all stakeholders together around the issue of sanitation and involving communities for the first time – both major goals of the Country Programme. The IDA project was formally launched 12 February 2014 in Accra. Read more about this initiative in the Ghana article below.


In Mozambique, the design of the Country Programme has been completed. Two detailed proposals were developed and the granting process begun. The first proposal focuses on two areas: rationalising the numerous local government capacity-building initiatives, and supporting a strengthened national institution to train local government land use and environmental planners for secondary cities at scale. The second proposal seeks to promote both a national dialogue and a local-level dialogue with the private sector, in particular the extractive industries.


The Country Programmes comprise 31 grants worth US$14 million, of which US$11.5 million is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and US$2.5 million from Cities Alliance core funds.

An initiative to create and implement Municipal Development Strategies (MDS) in 14 secondary cities was launched in February 2014. The project promotes long-term, participatory and proactive planning with the aim of preparing all 14 cities to sustainably accommodate future urban development and attract additional investment. In addition, municipal development forums have been set up in all 14 cities with financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Cities Alliance Country Programme in Uganda has been closely coordinated with the World Bank’s six-year Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) project, financed by the International Development Association (IDA).  The 14 cities have already agreed on a first set of priority projects that will be financed by USMID. Over the next two years, one of the objectives of the MDS project is to consolidate strategic and participatory planning and to prepare for a second set of capital investment projects which will be funded by USMID. 


In November, Vietnam held its 10th Vietnam Urban Forum (VUF), which has been effectively revived through the Country Programme – expanding from just 25 members to 103 in two years. A Cities Alliance team participated in the Forum, which was held on 7 November to mark National Urban Day.

Another Vietnam Country Programme activity, the National Urban Upgrading Programme (NUUP), concluded in December 2013. During their mission to Vietnam, the Cities Alliance team also oversaw the handover of Country Programme pipeline activities from the World Bank legacy team to the Secretariat in Brussels. These include ACVN’s Community Development Fund project; community-based, participatory City Development Strategies supported by UN-Habitat; and the preparation of a National Urban Development Strategy based on the findings of the Urbanisation Review, to be implemented by the Urban Development Agency.