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Fields of activity

Needs-based and efficient urban management

Tram in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Well-functioning and efficient urban management directly benefit economic and social development. Only once the proper enabling environment has been put in place can civil society and business evolve and contribute to urban development.

As populations grow, so too do the challenges facing cities in developing countries and emerging economies. Cities need to provide all their citizens with access to housing and to educational and health facilities; they need to introduce rules on land use, prevent or at least limit uncontrolled housing and industrial developments, and manage transportation systems; they need to guarantee a community-wide water and energy supply as well as proper waste and sewage disposal. In order to be able to manage all of these tasks, cities need administrative structures that not only function properly but are efficient as well.

Responsibility for all local affairs

Germany assists local authorities in building their capacities so that they can manage all their local affairs independently. That includes, for instance, levying taxes, charges and fees, environmental management and exercising local planning autonomy.

Good governance and effective administrative procedures based on strategic guiding principles and good technical facilities represent a solid foundation that needs to be created. Integrated urban development takes spatial aspects into account, brings together specialist administrations from different sectors and strengthens partnerships with stakeholders from civil society, the scientific and academic community, culture, finance and the private sector.


Forward-looking transport strategies

Bikes in Amsterdam

Germany recommends that its partners harmonise transport planning, urban planning and land use planning, and provides advisory services and funding to help them achieve this. German development cooperation supports cities in developing, financing and implementing sustainable and pro-poor public transport strategies.

Discussions between city councils and the private sector establish where action needs to be taken, following which approaches for resolving the issues to be addressed are developed. In the process, local and regional competitive advantages are extended. Besides establishing companies, employment promotion focuses primarily on integrating the informal sector into regulated business cycles. Furthermore, approaches for promoting employment, such as through labour-intensive measures in the construction of urban infrastructure, are developed as part of public investment projects.


Urban development support programmes

The German Development Ministry (BMZ) also helps its partners to put in place effective financing geared to the needs and capacities of cities. It advises them on how to set up urban development support programmes and provides funding to assist with their implementation. German support helps to create the conditions under which cities are able to secure easier access to new sources of financing, including domestic and international capital and credit markets as well as private sector investors, most notably in the form of public-private partnerships (PPP). As local credit institutions are established and strengthened, the opportunities for cities to finance infrastructure projects using local partners increase.


BMZ glossary

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