Nairobi, 28 January 2021 - The Africa Department of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and the UN-Habitat Regional Office for Africa signed a Memorandum of Understanding to advance safe, resilient and sustainable cities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa is experiencing rapid urbanization with a total of 588 million people living now in cities many without access to public services. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of increased inequalities. The social and economic impact of the pandemic has been mostly felt in informal settlements where over half the urban population live without access to decent housing, water, sanitation and health care. Citizen participation and multi-stakeholders’ engagement are key in ensuring no one and no place are left behind.

The goal of the MoU between UNHABITAT and FES is to strengthen participation of civil society and non-state actors in decision making process in cities in Sub-Saharan Africa, with an emphasis on youth and women. This will be achieved through joint research-actions on emerging topics (climate change, justice, conflict and migration), awareness creation towards regional and national institutions, and support to informal sectors in urban settings and strengthening services delivery.

Mr. Oumar Sylla, the Director of the Regional Office for Africa in UN-Habitat, stated that the UN-Habitat and FES offered an opportunity to democratize recovery plans in cities with the participation of civil society and non-state actors, as an important milestone towards resilient and sustainable urbanization. 

Upon signing the MoU, Dr. Manfred Öhm emphasized that democratically shaping urbanization is key for strengthening social justice and fighting inequality. He welcomes the possible synergies of FES, its partners on the African continent, and UNHABITAT working jointly for just cities.



The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), a German based foundation, with its international network of offices in more than 100 countries, is committed to the values of Social Democracy. Jointly with its partners, FES is working towards social justice, democracy, peace and international solidarity. On the African continent, FES has in 2020 launched its ‘Just City’ project with the aim of strengthening social and democratic inclusivity in urbanization and improving access to urban public goods.

UN-Habitat is the coordinating agency within the United Nations System for human settlement activities and, in collaboration with Governments, is responsible for promoting and consolidating collaboration with all partners, including local authorities, private and non-governmental organizations in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) goal 11 of “Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.


For more information contact:

Oumar Sylla, Director of Regional Office for Africa, UN-Habitat

Manfred Oehm, Director of Africa Department, FES