The Urban Economy Branch focuses on promoting urban strategies and policies that strengthen the capacity of cities to become drivers of economic development and creators of wealth and employment.
Special attention is paid to the formulation and implementation of urban strategies and policies that will enhance municipal finance and tax revenue, as well as contribute to the creation of jobs that will improve the livelihoods of all, and which lead to the economic empowerment of youth and women in particular.
Head: Marco Kamiya
- Local Economic Development Unit (LEDU)
- Urban and Municipal Finance Unit (MFU)
- Youth and Job Creation Unit (YJCU)
Programmes, initiatives & networks:
- Urban Youth Fund
- Youth 21 Initiative
Cities are the main creators of economic wealth, generating over 70 per cent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Most industries and businesses are located in or within immediate vicinity of urban areas, providing city residents with jobs. Because most employment opportunities are within urban areas, cities attract large parts of a country’s job seeking population. This is especially true in developing countries, where an increasing share of economic activities take place in cities, and the differential between urban and rural wages is growing.
This causes rapid rural-to-urban migration. Today, over 50 per cent of the world’s population is urban dwellers, with this figure expected to rise to over 65 per cent by 2030. If urban economic opportunities do not keep pace with the influx of job-seekers, urban poverty can have dire results for the health and well-being of large shares of the population. Governments are presented with a set of economic and financial challenges in dealing with growing urban populations:
- They must harness urban population growth to generate economic prosperity.
- They must pay for infrastructure and services to both accommodate new residents and support the existing population.
- They must facilitate economic growth and job creation that is broad-based and inclusive.
- They must leverage the youth dividend to create a new generation of economic vibrancy.