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UN-HABITAT International Consultant – Background Paper for the State of African Cities Report Jobs in Kenya

UN-HABITAT International Consultant – Background Paper for the State of African Cities Report Jobs in Kenya


Africa is still the least urbanized continent, but it is urbanizing very rapidly. UN population projections show that, in 2020, 44% of Africa’s total population lives in areas defined as urban, compared to only 19% in 1960. This translates suggests a 10-fold increase, from 53 million urban residents in 1960 to 588 million in 2020.

It is projected that the number of Africa’s urban residents will increase to 1.5 billion by 2050, and that Africa will pass the tipping point of 50% urban population around 2035. Small- and medium-sized cities are the fastest growing ones and concentrate most of the urban population in Africa. In 2018, only 221 African cities’ populations exceeded 300,000, while more than 10,000 cities and towns had less than 300,000 inhabitants.

Historically, urbanization has been a transformative force of change and is closely associated with structural transformation, innovation, economic growth and improved well-being. Cities enable the expansion of the productive sectors of the economy which is key in driving growth and decent job creation. However, with inadequate urban planning and management, and where severe infrastructure and service deficits prevail with limited productive job opportunities and inadequate housing, urbanization can pose as risk factor.

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is the United Nations agency responsible for urbanization and human settlements, mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote economically, socially and environmentally sustainable cities and other human settlements.

UN-Habitat works with organizations at all levels, which include all levels of government, multilateral and bi-lateral organizations, civil society, the private sector and the Habitat Agenda Partners. The New Urban Agenda (NUA) adopted in October 2016 as the outcome of the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (HABITAT III) in 2016 provides an action-oriented roadmap to guide sustainable urban development globally to the year 2036.

Paragraph 166 and 174 of the NUA clearly state that need for a quadrennial report to take stock of the progress made and challenges faced in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda since its adoption and to identify further steps to address them. It also calls for voluntary inputs from countries and relevant regional and international organizations by reporting on the progress of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda every four years, with the first report to be submitted during the seventy-second session of the Assembly.

UN-Habitat, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union Commission (AUC) have in the almost last decade ensured that Africa’s priorities as contained in the Africa Agenda 2063-the future we want was captured in global and continental documents; the Common Africa Position to habitat III served as galvanized negation tool for Arica during the habitat III process that produced the New urban Agenda.

Currently, the trio are also supporting the African region to the analyze salient and emerging issues arising from the review process and frame them in a document that will inform the regional outcome from the first quadrennial progress report.

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) Regional Office for Africa is seeking the expertise of a consultant to develop a background paper for the comprehensive “State

of African Cities Report” to focus on financing urban development. This report aims to provide an analysis of trends, challenges, and opportunities related to financing urban development in line with Agenda 2063 across the African continent.

The report will serve as a critical resource for policymakers, urban planners, and stakeholders involved in sustainable urban development initiatives in Africa and will constitute the background for the Africa Urban forum to be held in Ethiopia in September 2024. The international consultant will work under the direct supervision of the Director, Regional Office for Africa, UN-Habitat.


Within assigned authority, the International Communication Consultant will undertake the following duties:

  • Review existing literature, reports, and data sources related to urbanization in Africa, including national census data, academic publications, and relevant multilateral agency reports.
  • Collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data on urbanization trends, demographic dynamics, economic development, and infrastructure provision in selected African cities.
  • Identify case studies and best practice finance structures for urban development initiatives from different regions of Africa, highlighting lessons learned and transferable practices.
  • Develop a comprehensive report outlining the findings of the analysis, including data visualizations, maps, and graphs to illustrate key trends and patterns.
  • Prepare a set of evidence-based recommendations for policy and practice, tailored to the needs and priorities of African governments and urban stakeholders.

    Objectives of the assignment:

  • To conduct an overview and analysis of urbanization trends in Africa, focusing on key financial indicators.
  • To assess the current state of urban infrastructure, including housing, transportation, water and sanitation, energy, and digital connectivity, across major African cities, with a particular emphasis on their financial sustainability.
  • To identify and analyze key challenges and opportunities associated with urbanization in Africa, including issues related to existing financial institutions, political, economic and legal structures, informality, inequality, climate change, and governance.
  • To highlight best practices and innovative approaches in sustainable urban development across the African continent and beyond.
  • To provide evidence-based recommendations for policy interventions and strategic actions to promote inclusive, resilient, and sustainable cities in Africa.

    Qualifications/special skills

  • Advanced degree in urban planning, geography, economics, sociology, or a related field is required.
  • A bachelors degree with two additional years of experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced degree.
  • A minimum of 10 years experience in urban planning, geography, economics, sociology, or a related field is required.
  • Demonstrated expertise in urban research, data analysis, and report writing, with a focus on African cities is desired.


  • English and French are the official languages of the United Nations.
  • Fluency in both oral and written English language is required. Knowledge of another UN language would be an added advantage.

    How to Apply

    For more information and job application details, see; UN-HABITAT International Consultant – Background Paper for the State of African Cities Report Jobs in Kenya

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