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As a side event to the 49th Asian Development Bank General Meeting, 2-5 May in Frankfurt, BMZ, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), and CDIA held a discussion forum on 2 May at the City of Sustainability Forum at the ADB General Meeting. Organized by BMZ and SECO, the discussion aimed to reflect on the ins and outs of linking cities to finance with representatives from local governments, financing institutions, private sector.
In Asia, one of the continents with the steepest urbanization rates and the biggest infrastructure investment gap, national and subnational governments across the region are in need of financial and capacity development support to link to finance and prepare bankable, inclusive and sustainable infrastructure projects. BMZ, ADB, and SECO, among others, have been funding CDIA since 2007 to help bridge the infrastructure financing and capacity gap for medium-sized cities.
To date, CDIA has linked 51 urban infrastructure projects to finance with a total volume of 5.8 billion US-Dollars in investment.
The event featured short presentations and panel discussions on infrastructure investment financing sources, options, capacities, and financing instruments. Within the process of urbanization, chances and challenges are closely related as cities are drivers of social and economic participation and prosperity as well as responsible for emissions, pollution, and social inequality. The challenges become especially eminent in secondary cities – also in Asia – that too often find themselves trapped between options and necessities: they display the highest need for infrastructure investments and decisive actions to create livable habitats. At the same time they lack sufficient capacities to develop sustainable projects and priorities, which qualify for further access to financial resources. “Scale and speed are needed to answer the urbanization rates and infrastructure gaps of Asian secondary cities”, according to Dr. XU Jingjin from the China Development Bank.
The panel also addressed the implications for implementing international development discussions such as Habitat III. Moderated by CDIA Program Coordinator Ms. Claudia Hermes (left in photo), the panel was attended by: Mr. AJM Muzammil (Mayor of Colombo, Sri Lanka), Ms. Xu Jingjin (International Advisory Group on Green & Smart Urbanization, China Development Bank Capital Corp), Mr. Alain Geiger (Program Manager, Infrastructure Financing Division, SECO) and Dr. Tania Rödiger-Vorwerk (Deputy Director General at Directorate – Sustainable Development; Natural Resources; Economic Policy and Infrastructure, BMZ).