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PRESS RELEASE October 19, 2018

South Africa’s Efforts to Modernize, Improve Urban Management Boosted

Government signs $11.25 million agreement with World Bank Group

PRETORIA, October 19, 2018 – South Africa’s efforts to transform its cities and create more inclusive, productive and sustainable urban environments got a boost following the signing of an agreement between the Government of South Africa and the World Bank Group in September.

The $11.25 million Reimbursable Advisory Service (RAS) agreement is four-year program aimed at supporting the Government in its efforts to turn around the apartheid spatial legacy in the country’s big cities to improve service delivery and better the lives of South Africans. Under RAS programs, the World Bank works with countries at their request, providing technical advice, analytical services, and implementation support.

This project supports the National Treasury’s Cities Support Programme (CSP) in eight Metropolitan Municipalities. It focuses on restructuring the fiscal and financial framework for cities and improving regulatory reform and city implementation in the areas of governance, human settlements, public transport, economic development and climate resilience and sustainability,” said Ms Malijeng Ngqaleni, Deputy Director-General for Intergovernmental Relations, National Treasury. “This RAS work will help us to draw on global expertise and experience, where appropriate, to advance the vision of the National Development Plan and Integrated Urban Development Framework for integrated city governance for improved service delivery and inclusive economic growth”.

According to the RAS Agreement with the Government of South Africa, the World Bank Group will work with national government and metropolitan municipalities to develop programmes and recommendations to modernize and improve urban management performance in the country's largest metropolitan areas. Key focus areas include creating more enabling intergovernmental environment for coordinated urban development in human settlements development and urban public transport, streamlining policy and regulatory systems to support city transformation, and strengthening the capacity of municipalities to lead, plan, finance and execute elements of their urban transformation programmes.

This support includes research, data analysis, policy papers, peer-to-peer learning, symposia, and hands-on training and technical assistance. To carry out this work, the Bank will be working closely with key implementation partners, including the National Treasury, metropolitan municipalities, other relevant government departments and agencies, as well as the private sector. 

“South Africa has a strong urban policy framework and the World Bank is excited to continue working with National Treasury to harness the power of urbanisation for inclusive growth and improve the lives of the people of South Africa in line with the World Bank’s goals to reduce poverty and improve shared prosperity, said Paul Noumba Um, World Bank Country Director for South Africa.

This RAS is the second of its kind. It builds on a four-year $5 million RAS signed in 2013. This second RAS also complements the ongoing financial support from Swiss Department of Economic Cooperation’s (SECO) with a $9 million donor agreement signed in September 2015 to broaden the CSP work.  Some of flagship outputs of this collaboration have been South Africa’s sub-national study on the ease of doing business and South Africa’s Urbanisation Review, both concluded in 2018. Other areas covered under the first RAS and the SECO Trust fund to date are the innovative approaches to infrastructure finance and modernizing policies and incentives for upgrading informal settlements though land and housing reform.

In addition, and as part of its broader support to the implementation of the Integrated Urban Development Framework, SECO and the World Bank are also supporting a further $2.2 million engagement with the Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to provide advisory services to South Africa’s Intermediate City Municipalities (commonly referred to as Secondary Cities).


Zandi Ratshitanga
+27 73 888 5962