Experts Review New United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Report on Role of Cities in Domestic Resource Mobilization

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Senior government officials and experts are gathered in Addis Ababa for an Economic Commission for Africa Expert Group Meeting to review the ECA’s new report on the State of Urbanization in Africa: The Role of Cities in Domestic Resource Mobilization.

The two-day review meeting is being led by the Urbanization Section of the Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division at the ECA which is technically supporting countries to unleash the potential of cities in financing national development.

The report argues that African cities are yet to tap into revenue opportunities that rapid urbanization offers and proposes a framework for consideration which focuses on cities as drives of domestic resource mobilization.

It also highlights that African cities are generating a large share of GDP and are home to the manufacturing and services sectors that are leading structural transformation. The report also states that urban-based tradable economic sectors can provide a broad, stable and growing tax base in Africa.

“We hope that by the end of the review meeting we will be able to shape the report in a way that member States can leverage the roles of cities to realize their productivity and revenue potential and that beyond the experiences and good practices, you will provide the critical thinking aspects behind the role of cities in domestic resource mobilization and Financing for Development in Africa,” said Ms. Edlam Abera Yemeru.

Ms. Yemeru, Chief of the Urbanization Section, in her remarks to the meeting said the ECA’s work on domestic resource mobilization was part of the support rendered towards the Financing for Development process, centered around the follow-up to agreements and commitments reached during three major international conferences on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico in 2002; in Doha, Qatar in 2008; and in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2015.

The process also follows up on financing for development-related aspects of the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields, including the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The experts are expected to unpack the report, evaluate the contribution of African cities to domestic resource mobilization towards financing Agendas 2030 and 2063 and the New Urban Agenda; look critically at the suggested aspects of urban productivity and the revenue potential of cities, urban investments for economic transformation, urbanization and the accompanied shifting tax base, addressing informality for revenue generation in cities, decentralization for local revenue mobilization and, utilizing urban land value capture to raise local revenue.

“We hope you will bring out the linkages between cities and taxes or revenues as mediated through the cities’ role in increasing GDP and associated changes in the composition of GDP,” said Ms. Yameru.

She added: “As Africa strives to leverage the urbanization process for development, where economic growth is expected to lead to job creation and decent work, where we can witness an increase in productive cities and innovation and more urban investments such as effective public transportation among others, we hope that this report will raise issues that member States can question, interrogate and adopt as policy options or good practices when they are embarking on domestic resource mobilization for their development processes.”  

The experts are expected to validate the practical policy options highlighted in the report which can help member States improve the socio-economic performance of African cities, through revenue generation.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

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