Global Challenge Urbanisation | Enabel - Belgian Development Agency


The world is becoming more and more urban. By 2050, 70% of the world population will live in cities. This global trend concerns both the rise of megacities and the spread of small and medium-sized cities. 75% of the world population is living in urban settlements of fewer than 500.000 people. Cities are also growing younger, with an estimated 60% of urban populations under the age of 18 by 2030.


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African countries face the huge challenge to improve the management of its cities, and specifically secondary cities. Most of them are struggling with deficient infrastructure and planning, precarious housing conditions, limited capacities of the public and private sector, insecurity… They face disrupted labour markets, with high youth unemployment in fragile and mostly informal economies. 

Access to quality public services for all

Enabel supports cities to upgrade and maintain urban infrastructure for quality services (access to water and sanitation, roads, energy), including in informal settlements.

Integrated and participatory city planning and management

Enabel supports cities in co-creating policies and tools for appropriate city planning and management. Urban authorities and civil organisations are encouraged to collaborate closely and to promote women’s leadership and participation in joint efforts to improve city life.

Business opportunities and jobs for youths and women

Enabling young people and women to develop their talents and skills and promoting entrepreneurship will boost the urban economy. Taking into account ever-changing market needs, harnessing the potential of the urban economy and tapping into the opportunities offered by the digital economy are key to foster innovative urban eco-systems.

Safe and cohesive cities

Enabel contributes in shaping cities’ ability to offer inclusive and safe environments to their citizens. Specific attention is devoted to young people, women and vulnerable groups. Urban violence and gender-based violence in particular is addressed in a comprehensive manner through enhancing access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, to gender-responsive infrastructure, and working closely with schools, the police and the judicial authorities.
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