Today’s urban population of about 3.5 billion people is projected to reach 5 billion by 2030, with two-thirds of the global population living in cities. City leaders must move quickly to plan for growth and provide the basic services, infrastructure, and affordable housing their expanding populations need.
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Twin goalsThe project did not just invest in infrastructure, it also provided access to micro loans for home improvement and income generation for households whose incomes are in the bottom 40%. ... Show More + So far, the repayment rate is almost 100%. “I borrowed 5 million dong [$250] to expand my small shop at home,” said Vo Thanh Khuong, a resident of Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City. “Our income has increased and I could take better care of the kids. Our living conditions are getting better.”“Having access to credit helps the poor benefit even more from improved infrastructures,” said Keiko Sato, Acting World Bank Country Director for Vietnam. “This approach really fits the World Bank’s twin goals in eradicating extreme poverty by 2030 and promoting shared prosperity by improving the living standards of the bottom 40% of the population in every country.”Community participationCommunities actively participated in project design and implementation. They attended numerous meetings and supervised the infrastructure upgrading work in their neighborhoods. They also contributed their time, efforts and even donated land to improve access in the upgraded areas.“Together with other members of our community, I frequently checked the project’s progress in our neighborhood to make sure everything was done in a timely manner with high quality,” said Nguyen Thanh Tu, Member of the community supervision board, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City.With $382 million financing from the World Bank and $140 million counterpart funding from the Government of Vietnam, the project has turned 200 low-income areas into vibrant, attractive communities, and transformed the lives of millions of urban poor. “Our family’s income has increased twofold since 2010,” said Mai. “We are very happy and we will maintain this clean and green environment for our own benefit.” Show Less -
Jonathan Kamkwalala, World Bank Group Water Practice Manager for Eastern and Southern Africa, emphasized the important role of these discussions in pursuit of increasing access to basic services like ... Show More +water and sanitation and ultimately ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. “These conversations promote benchmarking across institutions while enabling participants to learn from other nations and regions,” Kamkwalala added.Neil Macleod was joined by William Muhairwe (formerly of National Water and Sewerage Corporation of Uganda) as course facilitator. Both men are reputed for their success in navigating complicated political economies and helping their institutions reach financial sustainability. “It was inspiring to hear about the problems we face from someone who has overcome them,” said Kombo R. Kombo, CEO of Mombasa Water and Sewerage Company. “It shows you it can be done and gives you access to the resources to do it.” Participants were particularly impressed, for example, with the Fundo de Investimento e Patrimonio do Abastecemento de Agua’s success in creating an economy of scale to recover their costs through decentralized management and private sector participation. In the ensuing discussions, representatives from Vitens and Suez helped delineate different models for private sector involvement.“Urbanization is rapidly shifting Africa's development landscape. By sharing know-how and learning from peers, Africa's water CEOs are leaping ahead to meet this challenge head-on. The Water Global Practice is developing a partnership with a network of Africa's water CEOs to support African water utilities’ deliver on the promise of universal access," said Water Global Practice Senior Director Junaid Ahmad.Moving forward, the dialogue will continue through upcoming events and potential increased involvement with West African utilities. Other regions, like Latin America, have also expressed interest in replicating the approach. Furthermore, the Science of Urban WSS Service Delivery, an ongoing initiative collating tools and knowledge to support utility reform, aims to leverage these types of forums to gather best practices and create an accessible repository for this knowledge.However, as Glenn Pearce-Oroz, Principal Regional Team Leader for the Global Water Practice's Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) in Africa, reminds participants, “This continuity depends on a strong commitment from the CEOs themselves to implement the action plans agreed upon during the course and to monitor them closely.”The commitment, however, is clearly there. The CEOs will maintain this engagement with various partners and one another to fuel cross-pollination and maintain accountability. The collective voice of this network, by showcasing the knowledge and experiences of this community of practice, opens a new space for agenda setting and engagement in the sector. Show Less -