Nairobi County officials are part of representatives from 11 African cities that have begun a visit to two Scandinavian cities to learn about people-centred solutions to urban planning and development. The trip is sponsored by the Urban and Municipal Development Fund which is hosted by the African Development Bank.

The 4-day trip to Copenhagen and Malmö, Sweden includes officials from Marrakech, Morocco;  Bizerte and Tunis in Tunisia; Dodoma, Tanzania; Antananarivo, Madagascar; Libreville, Gabon; Bangui, Central African Republic; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Nairobi, Kanifing; Gambia; and Douala, Cameroon. The cities are all Fund partners.

The delegation is conducting field visits and taking part in presentations on water management, waste treatment and e-mobility. They also have opportunity to engage with decision-makers and municipal officials from Copenhagen and Malmo. Both cities are recognized for their pioneering approaches to balancing sustainable development with quality of life.

Ole Stubdrup, a project manager with the Urban and Municipal Development Fund, and the visit’s coordinator, has traveled with the city officials. He said African municipalities and those of Northern Europe faced comparable problems, although appearing to be poles apart. “This visit should be a source of inspiration for the participants and foster ideas for specific urban infrastructure investments,” he said.

“Such a trip is a strong opportunity to share experience and consolidate a network of reform-oriented cities. It also paves the way for future projects in our respective cities, as we meet with potential partners and investors” said  Davis Mwamfupe, mayor of Dodoma, during the visit.

As Africa undergoes a rapid urbanization, municipal authorities are seeking investment to develop new infrastructure and improve the quality life for city dwellers. The Urban and Municipal Development Fund aims to improve urban quality of life and attract investment for infrastructure by strengthening cities’ technical capacity and planning functions. The Fund’s approach integrates economic, social and environmental factors.