Dakar street vendors aided by West Africa’s first municipal bond


The first municipal bond ever issued in West Africa will help Dakar’s humblest entrepreneurs: street vendors.  Omar Siddique, senior urban specialist for the Cities Alliance, writes that the seven-year, $40 million bond will relocate a hodgepodge of city markets to a central marketplace. The facility would provide better commercial space for 3,000 vendors and help the municipality reduce sidewalk congestion.

Dakar’s experiment in municipal bonds is being watched closely by other cities throughout Africa. “Most African local governments have limited access to capital markets and private sector finance for infrastructure projects,” Siddique writes. The city prepared the bond with assistance from philanthropic and non-governmental organizations that include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID.

While the bond is a good start for Dakar and Africa, it barely addresses the continent’s enormous financing needs. An estimated $25 billion is needed annually to meet the “municipal investment gap” in Africa, the article says. Yet most local governments there have limited access to capital markets. The Cities Alliance is a global partnership committed to reduction of urban poverty.

Leave a Reply