Urban Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy: City of Douala and its Greater Urban Area

Project

At-a-Glance

Approval Date
Actual Completion Date
Proposal Focus
1471
Core Focus
Secondary Cities
Country Type
Cameroon
Lesson Learned for Cities Alliance Members and Partners
Ownership The project illustrates strong ownership characteristics based on effective participatory activities. From the initial stages of project conception and design, stakeholders concerns have been factored into the process, enhancing ownership and opportunities for scalability and sustainability. The appointed Mayor of Douala has emerged as a ‘champion’ and indicated that a broad cross-section of stakeholders have been involved in the participatory process. He has indicated that his role will be to champion the project to national government ministries and the prime minister’s office as the project moves through subsequent stages of development and implementation. Participation Communaute Urbaine de Douala (CUD) has taken the lead in the preparation of the strategy. Because of the advocacy initiatives undertaken by CUD to include as many stakeholders as possible in the process of identifying needs and priorities, this project, unlike many others, had enabled a critical mass of citizens, stakeholders, administrators and decision-makers to think concurrently and strategically about the future of the city. These stakeholders included Chamber of Commerce, several Civil Society Organizations representing the urban poor, vulnerable groups and women, selected stakeholders outside the city boundaries (in Yaounde) and various interested and financially-committed donors who have demonstrated ongoing investment in Cameroon’s social, economic and infrastructure programs (e.g., AFD, World Bank, KfW, UNDP, UN Habitat). The diagnostic phases and the analysis and strategy development processes provided a mechanism to engage a broad range of stakeholders and fostered both horizontal (important local stakeholders) and vertical collaboration (high level decision makers at regional and national levels of government) across a range of issues. Capacity Building The project exercise has helped to build and improve the capabilities of stakeholder groups to not only better understand the phenomenon of city development strategy in the local context, but also to augment their own governing capabilities, which furthers the overall goals of the CDS strategy.

Detail

Summary
Douala, a prominent city of Cameroon, generates 25 percent of the country’s GDP. The city has a great national significance as its economic center as well as international importance as the fourth largest port on Africa’s Atlantic coast. Despite these endowments, the city faces great development challenges including lack of infrastructure, inadequacy of low cost housing resulting into proliferation of slums, weak municipal institutions, inadequacy of financial resources, poverty and unemployment. Recognizing this, the city of Douala proposes to develop, through a participatory process, a City Development Strategy aimed at poverty reduction and sustainable growth and development, creating the conditions for greater metropolitan Douala to become a regional economic hub, capable of attracting investors and promoting new activities.
Objectives
1) Identify, through a participatory process, specific interventions for sustainable growth and economic development, and poverty reduction in Douala and its metropolitan area 2) Establish and test, at the metropolitan level, institutional mechanisms and participatory, operational approaches that enhance the impact of economic development programmes on poverty reduction 3) Establish and validate, through a participatory process, the medium- and long-term strategy for the development of Douala and its metropolitan area, based on a programme of short-term priority interventions 4) To help foster ownership of the resulting investments through support of the organization and strengthening capacities of representatives of civil society, NGOs, and grass-root community organizations involved in urban management and environmental protection.
Activities
1) Develop a diagnostic of the economic development and urban poverty of the city and its environs (including satellite towns) 2) Analyse economic and social development and its impact on the development of the city and constraints associated with the city’s institutional framework 3) Prepare a medium and long term City Development Strategy for Douala and its metropolitan area 4) Disseminate the metropolitan City Development Strategy
Expected Impacts and Results
1) The diagnostic phases and the analysis and strategy development processes provided a mechanism to engage a broad range of stakeholders and fostered both horizontal (important local stakeholders) and vertical collaboration (high level decision makers at regional and national levels of government) across a range of issues. 2) The demonstrated focus on institutional, administrative, cooperative and governance frameworks resulted in to significant improvement of Douala’s physical environment and institutional framework for urban management. It also helped clarifying the roles of different actors intervening in local development. 3) The project identified short, medium and long term priorities for actions that are more responsive to the needs of urban poor and investments that are better matched to local resources.