PRETORIA, September 18, 2015 — The World Bank Group and the Embassy of Switzerland today signed a $9 million Trust Fund agreement to support South Africa’s efforts to improve the performance of its large cities by making them more inclusive, productive and sustainable.
Executed by the World Bank, this Trust Fund with help provide technical assistance, evidence based analysis and strengthen the capacity of the country’s eight metropolitan municipalities through the Cities Support Program (CSP), a South African government urban initiative, coordinated by the National Treasury.
“The objective of the Cities Support Program is to support the spatial transformation of our cities. Our partnership with the World Bank Group and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs allows us to tap into the Bank’s global experience, best practice and technical skills across a range of sectors in order to create more sustainable urban built environments,” said Malijeng Nqaleni, deputy director general for Intergovernmental Relations at the National Treasury.
The CSP seeks to improve targeted areas such as business-enabling environment; public financial management; infrastructure finance; land management and urban regeneration; and integrated urban transport planning over a five year period. Project activities to be undertaken through the Trust Fund are demand driven and have been formulated closely between the World Bank Group, SECO and the South African National Treasury based on ongoing consultations with the cities.
SECO is part of the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research and supports measures in economic and financial policy, urban infrastructure and utilities, private sector and entrepreneurship, sustainable trade, as well as climate-friendly growth.
According to the Embassy of Switzerland, “the program places SECO at the forefront of the urban development dialogue, presenting an opportunity to support policy reform and institutional capacity building by sharing our experiences in our focal areas: a vibrant private sector, public finances as a basis for balanced economic development and sustainable urban infrastructure. The South African Government has shown its commitment to address the challenges facing the urban space through the Cities Support Programme and we are proud to be a partner in this huge task.”
The program also links strongly to the World Bank Group’s twin goals of eradicating poverty and promoting shared prosperity by 2030 and is in line with the Group’s Country Partnership Strategy for South Africa which aims to support South Africa in reducing inequality, promote investments and strengthen institutions.
"We are pleased to partner with SECO supporting South Africa in its efforts to implement development solutions in large cities which are increasingly becoming critical to growing the economy, creating employment and poverty reduction,” said Guang Zhe Chen, World Bank Country Director for South Africa. “
This trust fund is the latest in the growing partnership between the World Bank Group and SECO to support South Africa's development priorities.