The World Bank approved a $100 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA)* in support of the Government of Mozambique’s Northern Urban Development Project, which seeks to improve basic urban infrastructure and living conditions in selected cities in the north of Mozambique.
“This is a critical boost to the government’s and development partners’ support to address fragility and conflict in northern Mozambique,” noted Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, and Seychelles. “This project will help transition efforts from a humanitarian response to a more long-term development approach, with a particular focus on addressing rapid and unmanaged growth which has strained the capacities of poorly serviced peri-urban settlements, and which is one of the key drivers of fragility and conflict in the region.”
Mozambique is urbanizing rapidly, driven by the search for economic opportunities and conflict-induced displacements. The urban population increased from approximately 1 million at the country’s independence in 1975 to approximately 11 million by 2020. Urban growth has accelerated more recently in the northern provinces, a result of the conflict. The recent violence and conflict in the Cabo Delgado Province have further accelerated the urban growth of some cities and towns in the north, as affected communities have sought safety in urban areas. This rapid influx has overwhelmed the cities’ capacity to provide urban infrastructure and services, ensure land tenure rights, and provide adequate housing conditions.
“The project will prioritize the cities in the north with the highest population growth, greatest bottlenecks in urban infrastructure, housing, exposure to climate risks, and the presence of involuntarily displaced persons,” noted Andre Herzog, Senior Urban Specialist, and the project’s task team leader. The cities and towns of Pemba and Montepuez (Cabo Delgado Province) and Nampula and Nacala (Nampula Province) were identified as priority locations for this project’s interventions.
In these cities, the project will invest in improving urban infrastructure and basic services in underserviced peri-urban neighborhoods, benefiting an estimated 460,000 people with better access to roads, water, sanitation, primary education, and basic health facilities. It will also invest in improving the quality and resilience of the houses of the most vulnerable families in these areas, including involuntarily displaced persons, benefiting approximately 8,200 households. The project will also support the formalization of land tenure rights for approximately 64,000 households, with a special focus on women’s access to land rights. Finally, the project will strengthen national-level urban policy and institutional frameworks, and local-level urban management capacity. The project has a strong focus on citizen engagement by creating space for beneficiary feedback throughout its implementation cycle.
This project supports the Government of Mozambique’s Integrated Development and Resilience Strategy for the north and complements development partners’ efforts aimed at addressing the root causes of fragility, conflict, and violence. This operation complements other World Bank funded operations and is consistent with the World Bank Group Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Mozambique for FY17–FY21, particularly on its efforts of promoting inclusive urbanization and decentralization, among other objectives. It will be implemented by the Fundo para o Fomento de Habitação, Fundo Publico (Housing Development Fund, Public Fund), under the overall guidance of the Ministério das Obras Publica, Habitação e Recursos Hídricos (Ministry of Public Works, Housing, and Water Resources).