Alexandria City Development Strategy for Sustainable Development – Phase II

Project

At-a-Glance

Approval Date
Actual Completion Date
Proposal Focus
1471
Core Focus
Secondary Cities
Country Type
Egypt
Lesson Learned for Cities Alliance Members and Partners
The CDS and follow-up investments suggest strategic interventions in both “hard infrastructure” to improve the living conditions of people and tackle key constraints to private sector development and economic growth (providing off-site infrastructure to enable land development with the private sector and road networks and); and “soft infrastructure” to address key barriers to investment and build the local capacity (streamlining business start-up procedures, enabling the registration of property informally held by investors, enhancing private sector participation in the management of industrial estates, and strengthening city capacity in managing local assets and sustaining strategic planning process). In a mega city, such as Alexandria, with a national function as ‘driver of economic growth’ such a balanced approach proved crucial. Financial Sustainability In a situation where a city relies for more than 80% of its capital expenditures on the central government, it is unrealistic to assume that the city will be able to finance CDS emerging projects from its own budget. This finding urged the CDS team and the Cities Alliance to a) continuously try to bridge the local and central level, b) involve central level agencies in CDS analysis and decisions throughout the process, and c) using the CDS results and identified projects to demand budgets from the Cabinet. Partnership New partnerships and synergies have been established. For example, the Social Fund for Development (SFD) and GTZ/KfW have targeted resources for slum upgrading initiatives in the three pilot areas, before scaling up to other areas by the Governorate under the long term CDS framework and financed by the National Program of Urban Upgrading. Institution Building The CDS funded the establishment of mechanisms (new units, such as the Urban Upgrading Unit and the City Development Agency) to ensure institutionalization of CDS implementation. It is proved in Egypt, and in many other developing countries, that such ambitious civil service reform is very difficult to achieve within short timeline. While it is an achievement, the sustainability of these institutions should also be ensured. Scaling Up The CDS process emphasizes close interface with central government to ensure that successfully implemented initiatives could be replicated at the national level. Alexandria will serve as a pilot case to test selected strategic reforms that are aimed at removing key constraints to the investment climate and strengthening local government’s urban management and service delivery capacity (Alexandria is already one of two test cases allowed more latitude by central government to set user charges for services). Successfully tested reforms, including CDS and urban upgrading regulations, would then be rolled out through regulatory reform and scaled up nationwide; a similar process is starting in the Metropolitan Cairo Area with support of the World Bank and partner donors. Participation There is a need to find broader communication strategy with stakeholders and the general public beyond the participation workshop format and occasional media coverage. The CDS should be the “talk of the street”, but this had not been the case in Alexandria. There is a need to emphasize communications and outreach in future CDS process. The CDS Strategy Document could be a good tool for city officials to disseminate and outreach. The Approach and Process of CDS The Alexandria CDS, and the resulting capital investment plan that will be partly implemented under the AGPP, resulted in a shift in local development practice in Egypt away from the traditional top-down, supply-driven approach. The latter was criticized for: (a) its narrow focus on infrastructural issues and little emphasis on the local economy dynamics, needs and institutional/financial dimensions, (b) little private sector participation and understanding of market dynamics/trends, and (c) non-participatory nature in planning, decision-making and implementation. Instead, the Alexandria CDS and follow-up investments rely on a bottom-up approach where ownership rests with local authorities/stakeholders with emphasis on broad-based participation in formulating the long-term vision and identifying development programs. The CDS process enabled integration of environmental concerns in Alexandria's development planning process. The lake development and land use plan showed the synergies between environmental improvement and economic development.

Detail

Summary
Alexandria City Development Strategy (CDS) Phase II builds on its successfully implemented first phase. In harmony with the national development strategy, the CDS is based on three pillars identified by the stakeholders: i) local economic development ii) participatory urban upgrading iii) environmental rehabilitation of Lake Marriout. In addition to addressing the key challenges like development of illegal settlements, lack of employment opportunities and environmental degradation, the project includes a proposal to establish a CDS Department/Agency in order to ensure implementation as well as long term sustainability of development. It also identifies priority development projects and potential sources of funding for these projects. With broad-based stakeholder participation in the form of partnership forums convened regularly, the CDS vision and action plan forms an overarching umbrella for organizing and leveraging donor support.
Objectives
The overall objective of Alexandria City Development Phase II is to assist to Alexandria Governorate to complete its City Development Strategic Framework for sustainable development and prepare for its implementation technically and institutionally. The specific objectives included: i) Institution building for effective implementation of CDS ii) Local economic development related activities iii) City-wide participatory urban upgrading of squatter settlements iv) Environmental rehabilitation of Lake Marriout and development of surrounding area.
Activities
1 )Consolidate the CDS Team and Partnership Forum comprising the executive entities of the Governorate, the local council and civil society partners including Alexandria University, Businessmen Association, Board of Directors of Alexandria Industrial Area Development, Research Center and NGOs which have participated in CDS Phase I 2) Develop legal and institutional framework of Alexandria City Development Department/Agency in order to foster coordination and ensure efficient implementation of the CDS 3) Build Capacity of CDS Team and Alexandria Development Department Staff through i) on-the-job training ii) LED international workshop iii) study tours iv) CDS consultation workshops 4) Establish a Lake Marriout Management Authority, in coordination with the Alexandria Governorate, GEF and the World Bank task team of EPAP II 5) Conduct a detailed study and action plan improving the local business environment, focusing on land 6) Conduct a comprehensive review for the finances of Alexandria in terms of revenues, expenditures, transfer, grants and other resources and identify a set of issues that could be addressed under AGPP to strengthen municipal finances leading to more broad based reforms 7) Identify three informal settlements, establish an urban upgrading unit and implement participatory planning process to design community socio-economic development programs for these settlements 8) Collect baseline data for three informal settlements to validate community needs and develop reliable indicators for monitoring and evaluation purposes 9) Prepare a detailed city-wide Urban Upgrading Strategy, based on lessons learned in the pilot areas 10) Hold periodical consultation meetings with key stakeholders, i.e government officials, civil societies, prospective beneficiaries, donor partners and potential follow-up financing bodies, to discuss work progress and seek their guidance in light of results of the studies
Expected Impacts and Results
The CDS resulted in an improved planning process in the city, based on a unified vision, and laid the foundations for a continued consultative and participatory process locally with the private sector and civil society. Furthermore, the CDS succeeded in attracting new and inward investments from the private, public and third sectors, as well as in maximizing opportunities from the donor community for follow-up investments. As laid out in the objectives, the CDS team was able to identify and find funding for quick gains. The first impact on the ground was IFC and CDS support to improve local business environment and prepared strategy to support the manufacturing sector, which is the most economic competitive sector in Alexandria. The 2nd impact was the GTZ of local area initiative that supplied training on participatory budget to one of the districts and, accordingly, financed the construction of a community center in one of the squatter settlements. The 3rd group of gains was the improvement of primary health care units in squatter settlements financed by GTZ, UNICEF and AUDI. Then, the Governorate’s translated commitment to address the environment issues in Lake Marriout encouraged the central government to fund immediate pollution abetment measures needed. The activities related to local economic development resulted into a great success. By the end of 2007, the number of days needed to start a business in Alexandria was reduced by 30 percent. Costs fell by eight percent, and procedures were reduced by about 30 percent. Not surprisingly, company registrations started to increase, growing by almost 15 percent, in 2007. The city-wide urban upgrading strategy and establishment of urban upgrading unit and three area based offices guaranteed constant communication and coordination between local communities and the Governorate. Finally, rehabilitating major access roads and the construction of 30,000 affordable housing units has also been an outstanding impact on the ground. Such quick wins were a key to success for the CDS process as tangible results ensured strong and sustained stakeholders mobilization and trust. Alexandria will serve as a pilot case for strategic reforms that are aimed at removing key constraints to the investment climate and strengthening local government’s urban management and service delivery capacity. Successfully tested reforms including CDS and urban planning regulations, would then be rolled out through regulatory reform and scaled up nationwide.