Municipal CFO Initiative to boost financial officer skills

Continental programme to address pressing need for funding local infrastructure and development projects.

The Municipal CFO Initiative aims to build the capacity of municipal CFOs across the continent. This was recently announced by the African Development Bank and United Cities and Local Governments, a global umbrella group for local and metropolitan governments, at the 9th Africities Summit in Kisumu, Kenya.

The new initiative will enable cities to tap financial markets more effectively, to fund their local infrastructure and development projects. Africa’s fast urbanising cities have resulted in a pressing need for city infrastructure to grow and expand.

Alice Nabalamba, chief urban development officer in the African Development Bank's Infrastructure, Cities and Urban Development Department, said, “Such capacity-building programmes play a catalytic role in the long term development of cities and turning municipalities into robust discussion partners for a broad range of funders.”

Ten municipalities are expected to participate in the programme, which will start in September.

Financial officers who participate will learn finance, accounting, and debt and risk management skills to improve the creditworthiness of their cities. Participants will also have the opportunity to undertake site visits to African bourses, including the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and Abidjan Stock Exchange.

Dr François Paul Yatta, director of programs at United Cities and Local Governments Africa, noted, “A number of municipalities are almost ready to access financial markets, which will dramatically improve their capacity in financing projects. Unfortunately, they don’t have a deep comprehensive understanding of how to start.”

“Municipalities have to inspire confidence, and build a positive and engaging narrative to capture the attention of both public and private finance,” added Hastings Chikoko, managing director for Africa at C40, a global network of mayors that partners with the African Development Bank.