ROAS Urban Economy

By concentrating the factors of production (land, labour, capital) cities are the main creators of economic wealth, generating over 70% of global GDP. Increasingly, Arab governments seem to recognize the importance of the city as a laboratory for innovation, a magnet for investment and a source of job creation. There is growing recognition of the role of sustainable urbanization to reduce the proportion of people living in poverty, and a growing desire to harness the economic potential of cities within national systems of cities.

These typically include systems of interdependent urban agglomerations and growth nodes, linked by development corridors, and lead to the emergence of metropolitan urban regions. To be able to make adequate services available, implement sustainable urban development plans and provide the overall framework that can unleash economic growth, suitable urban financing strategies are key. These financing strategies are designed so that economy and land value generated by urbanization can be partially reinvested into the city’s management, infrastructure and services.

UN-Habitat is supporting the development of National Urban Policies in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon and Sudan. Building on the overall policy framework provided in the NUPS for maximising the potential of cities to generate economy as well as local revenue through sharing the benefit of improved urban economies and land value, pilot projects and legislation are being developed in Egypt.

They generate revenue through planned city extensions and valuable lessons learned are being shared in the region. In Jordan the municipal credit rating tool is applied to assess and strengthen capacity of local authorities in financial management and revenue generation. Other projects in Iraq, Sudan and Palestine have sought to improve livelihoods and generate economy through supporting the vocational training of low-income women and youth in urban livelihood and construction skills.

Palestine: Technical and Vocational Training Centre for Underprivileged Women in Hebron

Funded by the Saudi Committee for the Palestinian People Relief, UN-Habitat in partnership with Hebron Municipality and line ministries in the West Bank/occupied Palestinian territories, have been supporting an environment that promotes alleviation of poverty among women in Hebron city since 2009.

This included establishing a Technical and Vocational Training Centre to empower underprivileged women and their families and improve their living standards through the provision of vocational training, urban entrepreneurship development and economic training programs and initiatives. The Technical and Vocational Training Center targets vulnerable urban women-headed families.

Under this framework UN-Habitat held participatory appraisal workshops and completed a comprehensive field survey that covered more than 600 households in the city. These interviews and workshops aimed at identifying the underlying problems, training needs and potential economic initiatives required for the improvement of the socio-economic situation of poor women in the city. The project has also contributed to capacity building of women’s skill development institutions in other cities and towns in the occupied Palestinian territories.

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