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Johannesburg, South Africa September 12, 2019
— IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), today launched the Africa Cities Platform to help bridge the financing gap for urban infrastructure.
According to the United Nations’ 2018 World Urbanization report, 59 percent of Africa’s population will live in cities by 2050, thus straining current urban infrastructure systems. Building more productive, inclusive and sustainable cities is therefore critical for economic growth and poverty reduction.
The Africa Cities Platform will support municipalities and other related government entities to grow the pipeline of sustainable urban infrastructure projects in key areas such as urban mobility, energy, water, and waste management. It aims to expand access to urban infrastructure and services by providing advisory services that lead to opportunities for the private sector to finance and deliver infrastructure projects.
The program will focus on cities in South Africa, including metropolitan municipalities and intermediate cities, while also engaging with cities in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa such as Dakar and Lagos.
Dr Nicolas Brühl, Ambassador-Designate of Switzerland to South Africa, said that South Africa, and other countries in Africa, has a large, growing urban population that “depends on social and economic services located in cities. With this figure increasing rapidly, there is more pressure on the public and private sectors alike to address the low levels of economic growth, to look at ways to create sustainable jobs, to improve on economic and social infrastructure delivery and to create safe environments for the most vulnerable.”
Adamou Labara, IFC Country Manager said “IFC's approach is to develop long-term strategic partnerships with cities to help them realize sustainable urban infrastructure development, which will spur private sector growth.”
Over the past decade, IFC has invested over $13 billion in global infrastructure projects and provided advisory support on urban development for over 60 countries.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities where they are needed most. In fiscal year 2019, we delivered more than $19 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is the federal government`s center of excellence for all core issues relating to economic and labor market policy. Its aim is to contribute to sustained economic growth, high employment and fair working conditions, by creating the necessary regulatory, economic and foreign policy framework. For more information: please visit
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