Supporting the Implementation of the Comprehensive Urban Upgrading Program for Mbabane, Swaziland



Approval Date
Actual Completion Date
Proposal Focus
Core Focus
Secondary Cities
Country Type
Lesson Learned for Cities Alliance Members and Partners
With regard to participation it has been learnt that for such projects to succeed maximum participation at all levels is paramount however it must be guided by the professionals qualified in the relevant fields. Maximum participation can also stall such projects because most of the affected people may demand high standards of services that may make the project unaffordable. Participation can also be abused by those influential and powerful for their own personal benefits like gaining political mileage at the expense of the project(s). Community residents keep on changing their needs and they usually disown their decisions. They always perceive the project as a Council project but not a community project.


Mbabane, the capital of Swaziland, continues to experience the same pressures that other rapidly urbanising African cities are faced with. As the seat of national government and linked on a strategic economic corridor with its sister city Manzini, Mbabane is a destination for migrants. The Municipal Council of Mbabane (MCM) has undertaken a mission to develop an inclusive city that provides access to services within a safe environment for all its residents. It has initiated the Comprehensive Urban Upgrading and Financing Plan for Mbabane through support from the Cities Alliance, a programme to make it the first African cities without slums. This project aims to continue the current work taken up by the municipal council and use it as a basis for the upgrading of the eight informal settlements and empowerment of the city's poor.
The preliminary lay outs of informal settlements were prepared under the previous grant - Comprehensive Urban Upgrading and Financing Plan for Mbabane grant (MUFP) - by Cities Alliance and USAID. The objective of the grant is to finalise these detailed layout designs.
Finalize, in consultation with the affected communities, the layout designs for each informal settlement Revised costing for the upgrading process Consultations with each affected community on the process of technical appraisals for upgrading, costing and timeframes
Expected Impacts and Results
The project enabled the Municipal Council of Mbabane to initiate formal surveys of the plots in Mbabane's eight informal settlements. Completion of formal land surveys will allow the Municipal Council to award secure tenure to the 36,000 residents of these communities to be followed by incremental upgrading of all communities as resources become available including but not limited to, the imminent Swaziland Local Government Project (SLGP).