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04 November 2021 - Session 4


The fourth event in the City-to-City Knowledge Exchange programme featured the following cities and projects:

Presentations from Abeokuta and New Clark City provided an opportunity to consider two very strategic projects which both address the themes of governance and collaboration, implementation and enforcement. Both projects were of city- and region-wide importance. The concluding paring of Durban and Cape Town brought these two cities together to bring the City-to-City Knowledge Exchange to a close. The theme of evidence-based design and the effective use of data was central to cities across the programme and the South African cities focused on the strong link between data and economic development.

Key Takeaways:

  • Projects need to start small and develop incrementally, with end-users guiding the process to ensure the project is responsive to needs.
  • Both the vision and the monitoring and enforcement of city-wide policies are important. In other words, defining the goal we are working towards at the same time as defining the mechanisms to realise the policy on the ground.
  • Early planning of digital infrastructure enables cities to leapfrog and avoid costly retrofitting. Here, there is an opportunity to learn from other cities and implement proven technologies at scale.
  • Implementation and sustainability depend fundamentally on project finance. Cities, therefore, need to focus on financing and funding of projects and how this can be built in from the outset.
  • The potential for green finance is a novel area that needs particular attention from the project conception stage – we must build in economic opportunities from the start, to unlock the potential of the future.
  • The importance of cross-city learning in saving time and money re-inventing the wheel on shared challenges should be stressed.

Cities Contributors

Mr Gbenga Dairo, Hon. Commissioner for Transport, Ogun State, Nigeria

Engr Gbenga Dairo is a dynamic and distinguished professional engineer with extensive knowledge and experience in transportation planning and Management. He has over 30 year’s professional working experience spanning through Africa, the Middle East, the Far East and Europe. A graduate of the University of Lagos, Nigeria and Imperial College, London, with an MBA from Kingston University, United Kingdom. He is a chartered member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, member of the United Kingdom Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and chartered member of the Institution of Highways and Transportation, United Kingdom. He was Technical Advisor to the World Bank assisted Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) and later the Director for Public Transport in LAMATA, a position he held for several years during which he oversaw the planning and delivery of the Lagos Bus Rapid Transit Scheme. Prior, he was Technical Adviser to the Traffic Director London and Project Manager for Light Transit projects at Transport for London. Until recently, Mr Dairo was the European Union consultant/Urban Mobility Advisor to the Nairobi City County and the Government of Kenya. Mr Dairo is now the Honourable Commissioner for Transportation in Ogun State with the mandate to reform and develop the state transport sector.

Mr Ryan Galura, Head of Sustainability Task Force, BCDA, The Philippines

Ryan Galura graduated from the University of the Assumption in Pampanga with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. He took up Practical Public Management on Public Investment Course at Asian Institute of Management and Executive Training Programme in Urban Policy, Governance and Green City Development at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He’s with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority for the last 19 years and currently the Officer-in-Charge for the Strategic Project Management Department of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

Ms Sarah Watson, Public Relations and Support Officer, eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South-Africa

Sarah has worked at eThekwini Municipality since 2014. She is the Public Relations and Support Officer in the Human Settlements Unit, where she mainly works to co-ordinate stakeholders in the area of sustainable and affordable housing, and incremental informal settlement upgrading. Her previous work includes in the NGO sector - focused on participatory democracy and community participation, and several years in the land reform and redistribution sector

Mr Paul Court, Chief Economist, Cape Town, South-Africa

Paul Court is the City of Cape Town’s Chief Economist and the Manager of its’ Economic Analysis Branch. Paul has a Masters’ degree in Economics, obtained from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and has almost 14 years’ experience in the fields of public and development economics, having initially worked in a consultant capacity with a range of public sector entities and departments and then having spent a short period as a senior economist for the KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development Department. For the last 8 years, Paul has worked for the City of Cape Town and during this time, together with his dedicated team, has elevated the City’s understanding of Cape Town’s economy and the needs of its competitive industries, as well as helped to drive the increasing application of economic tools to major City projects and strategies. Paul is a firm believer in inter-governmental collaboration and has worked intensively with other South African cities to obtain more reliable spatially dis-aggregated economic data. He has also served as chairperson of the Public Sector Economist Forum, an organisation that brings together public economists from all spheres of government.

Subject Matter Experts

Ms Victoria Delbridge, Head of Cities that Work Initiative, International Growth Centre, UK

Victoria Delbridge is the Head of the International Growth Centre’s Cities that Work initiative. She is working with Paul Collier, Ed Glaeser, Astrid Haas and Tony Venables, to develop a network of economists, urban planning practitioners and policymakers to translate economic research into clear urban policy guidance. Victoria holds an MSc in Economics for Development from the University of Oxford, and a BSc in Environmental and Geographical Science and Economics from the University of Cape Town. Prior to her Masters at Oxford, Victoria was an economist at the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism in South Africa. Her current research areas include urban land use planning, public infrastructure and service provision, urban employment, municipal finance and city-level data strategies.

Ms Astrid Haas, Council Member, Cities that Work, International Growth Centre, UK

Astrid Haas is a member of the IGC Cities that Work Council and an Urban Economist at the African Development Bank. She previously served as a Policy Director of the IGC and as a Senior Country Economist for Cities and Head of the Cities that Work Initiative at the IGC. Her current research specialises in the area of municipal and infrastructure finance, in particular, but she also works on other areas such as urban mobility and urban land tenure more broadly. She works with various mayors, city managers and their teams in Africa and Asia to support research and evidence-based policy reform. In this capacity, Astrid has been invited to provide a peer review of the new Municipal Law of Afghanistan by the Acting Mayor of Kabul, to co-chair the Hargeisa municipal finance reform task force by the Minister of Interior of Somaliland as well as helping set up a research programme within the Kampala Capital City Authority. Prior to joining the IGC, she worked for Innovations for Poverty Action as well as for Evidence Action, which included work in Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi. Astrid has also worked as an analyst on a large-scale agriculture project in South Sudan and as an Economist in the Ministry of East African Community in Kenya. She holds an MA in International Economics and International Development from Johns Hopkins University (in Italy and the USA). In 2016, she was nominated by the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town as one of Africa’s Young Leaders.

Mr Babati Mokgethi, Senior Urban Development Officer, African Development Bank

Babati Mokgethi is a skilled Urban Regional Planner/Urban Designer with over seven years of experience helping city and local areas to properly plan for new developments and create accurate geographic mappings. Dedicated to making a community better through careful planning and designing of projects subjecting them to principles of urbanism. A graduate of Anglia Ruskin University, Babati has gained experience in the areas of infrastructure development, spatial planning and development control. Prior to joining the AfDB he served as a Spatial planner for the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Centre, in Gaborone, Botswana.

Mr Nathan Pierce, Head of Smart London, Greater London Authority, UK

Nathan Pierce is the Head of the Smart London Team based in the Greater London Authority in the UK. He is also the Programme Director for Sharing Cities, a pan-European programme that tests out innovative smart city solutions across a number of major European cities, replicating and scaling what works through new business and investment models. Nathan has 15 years’ experience across a range of public sector bodies having led on major service design and commissioning projects within London and at a European level. Nathan is determined to improve the lives of regular people by finding innovative ways to make government more sustainable, efficient and citizen focused.

Mr Ryan Christopher Sequeira, Senior Urban Mobility Expert, UN-Habitat's Urban Lab

Ryan Christopher Sequeira is overseeing the 18 mobility projects of the Global Future Cities Programme. He advises projects under the UN Cities Investment Facility, an upstream project development endeavour to prepare bankable, SDG-compliant projects for pitching at the Investor Fair of the 11th World Urban Forum and serves as an expert reviewer for the transportation projects of the ASEAN Sustainable Urbanisation Strategy. Before he joined UN-Habitat, Ryan worked on 59 rail and road transit nodes, 2.3 million square meters of allied Transit-Oriented Development, and 250 kilometres] of Complete Streets for the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation, and National Institute of Urban Affairs. Most recently, he worked on the infrastructure rejuvenation of 13 wastewater districts for the New York State Water Resources Institute as an Infrastructure Project Management & Finance Fellow at Cornell Institute of Public Affairs. His latest publication, on the Politics of Infrastructural Aesthetics of the Delhi BRT, was published in the International Development Planning Review and he is currently co-authoring a SIDA funded normative study on Integrated Capital Investment Planning.