Gates Foundation Announces Effort to Tackle Urban Poverty in Five African Cities

By Bill Melinda Gates Foundation, PRNE
Monday, September 27, 2010

City governments and community organizations to join forces in improving housing, jobs, and city services for urban poor

SEATTLE, September 28, 2010 - The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced a US$27.2 million
commitment to fund a range of urban development projects that bring together
city governments and community organizations from five fast-growing African
cities. These projects will improve the lives of more than half a million
urban poor through better access to jobs, governance, municipal services, and

The five-year effort aims to address the challenges created by the
explosive growth of the developing world's urban areas, where the population
is expected to double over the next two decades. More than 1 billion people
live in urban slums in the developing world and struggle to access municipal
services or meet basic livelihood needs. City governments facing rapid
urbanization often lack the capacity or means to help address the problems at
hand or plan for the future.

"As the world undergoes the largest wave of urban growth in history, we
believe there is an opportunity for city governments and the urban poor to
work together to find solutions that will address their common problems,"
said Melanie Walker, senior program officer of the foundation's Urban Poverty
Special Initiative.

Most efforts to help the urban poor have worked directly with either
governments or civil society organizations as the primary partner. Few have
taken the approach of bringing together city officials and civic
organizations to work collaboratively.

The goal of these projects is to foster a productive relationship between
city governments and the urban poor that can serve as a model for other
developing world cities to follow as they seek to address the challenges of
urban poverty.

The foundation is launching this effort in five rapidly urbanizing cities
that have demonstrated interest and commitment to working with the urban
poor. In each city, the foundation is working with a variety of civic
partners to pursue uniquely tailored urban development efforts:

Cairo, Egypt

Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ): US$5 million

To support the development of a solid waste management system that
promotes waste as a resource and integrates the urban poor in the management
of municipal waste services.

Luanda, Angola

Development Workshop Angola (DW): US$5 million

To promote more inclusive public planning processes that will help
improve basic services for 4.5 million of Luanda's residents.

Lilongwe, Malawi

Lilongwe City Assembly: US$2.6 million

To improve the general livelihood of Lilongwe's informal settlements
through a detailed survey of the needs of their residents and a range of
interventions aimed at upgraded service delivery.

Monrovia, Liberia

Monrovia City Corporation: US$5 million

To work with community groups and city officials to create a sustainable
municipal solid waste management and recycling system.

Harare, Zimbabwe

City of Harare and Dialogue on Shelter/Zimbabwe Homeless People's
Federation: US$5 million

To conduct a survey of informal settlements in Harare that will inform
selection of pilot locations and the development and implementation of a
shelter and infrastructure upgrading strategy. The foundation has signed two
one-year contracts with these organizations, and is planning a total
commitment of US$5 million over five years.

Development Innovations Group (DIG), an internationally recognized firm
that fosters innovative solutions in the fields of financial services for the
poor, urban and community services, and fund management, will provide
technical support and project monitoring. The foundation has signed a
three-year contract with DIG, and is planning a total commitment of US$4.6
over five years.

This effort is part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Urban
Poverty Special Initiative, which focuses on building the capacity of
organizations working on the ground with the urban poor, integrating the
voice of the poor into the urban planning process, and building city-level
partnerships. Since its launch in 2007, the initiative has committed nearly
US$150 million to organizations working with more than 15 million people in
urban centers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to promote new tools and
approaches for long-term urban poverty alleviation.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In
developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them
the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the
United States
, it seeks to ensure that all people - especially those with the
fewest resources - have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in
school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO
Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill
and Melinda Gates
and Warren Buffett. Learn more at or join the conversation at Facebook
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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, +1-206-709-3400, media at

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