WASHINGTON, February 18, 2016— The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a US$80 million financing for an Urban Development and Poor Neighborhood Upgrading Project in Congo.
The project will improve access to infrastructure and basic services for people living in selected unplanned constructions in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, and strengthen government and municipal capacity for urban enhancement.
“The project directly contributes to the Bank’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and, promoting a shared prosperity. Additionally, making project investments focus on providing basic infrastructure and access to services in some of the most vulnerable and poorest neighborhoods in selected cities, will help Congo achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Djibrilla Issa, World Bank Country Manager for the Republic of Congo.
The project, targeting some of the poorest neighborhoods in Brazzaville and Pointe Noire, will be benefit 65,000 residents in terms of, improved living conditions, strengthened community organization and better needs’ recognition. Additionally, it will bring construction activities which will generate opportunities for employment; further prospects may stem from other local development triggered by the project’s actions.
According to Mahine Diop, the project’s Task Team Leader, “the project will bring support at different levels. Locally, the targeted municipalities will benefit from increased capacity in service delivery, in decision making and upgrading programs development and private sector companies will gain from infrastructure construction and/or maintenance contracts. Nationally, the government will profit from enhanced capacity in inclusive upgrading programs implementation and, improved policies and regulation.”
With 70 percent of its 4.4 million residents, the Republic of Congo is considered the most urbanized country in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nevertheless, efforts to manage, regulate, and facilitate urban development have been hindered by limited investment, inadequate institutional capacity and a lack of effective urban planning at national and local levels. These shortcomings have resulted in a gradual deterioration of the living and working environment in the country’s main urban areas.
The project components are designed around two mutually reinforcing elements; (i) operations focusing on providing basic infrastructure and access to services in some of the most vulnerable neighborhoods and, (ii) capacity building in multi-sectoral strategy implementation and institutional action plan development to help improve other vulnerable neighborhoods not addressed by the project and to avoid future occurrence of unplanned urban development.