By Amba Mpoke-Bigg

Ms. María Peña Mateos, CEO of ICEX Spain Trade and Investment of the Kingdom of Spain, and Stefan Atchia, Manager of the Urban Development Division, sign a cooperation agreement to mobilize Spanish private sector expertise for African cities. Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 14th June, 2023.

ICEX Spain Trade and Investment  and the African Development Bank have signed a cooperation agreement to consolidate engagement of Spain’s private sector for urban development in Africa. The agreement will more specifically foster cooperation between the Spanish business entity  and the  Urban and Municipal Development Fund (UMDF), a multi-donor trust fund hosted by the African Development Bank.

The Spanish public agency will mobilize Spanish expertise for African Cities, including cross participation in events, data and knowledge sharing.

The agreement was concluded on the margins of the “Jornadas Multilaterales”, an event promoting dialogue between Spanish entrepreneurs and Ivorian economic actors organized by ICEX in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire this month.  During the event,  questions related to sustainable urban development were the theme of a panel discussion.

“The Bank is very pleased with the Spanish-African partnership, especially its collaboration between ICEX and the UMDF, supporting project development of urban Infrastructure and Planning,” said Stefan Atchia, Manager of the Bank’s Urban Development Division, who signed on behalf of the institution.

María Peña Mateos, CEO of ICEX, noted that, ““Spain has large experience with innovation and technology for urban services, which we want to make available for African cities. Moreover, the memorandum has agreed to facilitate the African Development Bank’s participation in the Smart Cities Expo World Congress, to be held in Barcelona in November, to learn more about the objectives and technologies related to urban development, inclusiveness and sustainability.”

The signed partnership document would form the foundation for a long-standing alignment of interests between the two parties, according to its terms.

The Urban and Municipal Development Fund promotes sustainable, resilient and inclusive urban planning in the Bank’s member countries. The Fund facilitates infrastructure project financing and implementation across Africa. It emphasizes the crucial role of private sector expertise and financing to fill the important services and urban infrastructures gap in African cities.

ICEX(link is external) is engaged in fostering Spanish companies’ participation in projects promoting sustainable development. The agency acts as a prescriber and public body of reference in the field of sustainable internationalization, under the conviction that internationalization can and should be part of the solution to the major global development challenge, driving innovation as a catalyst for more inclusive and sustainable products and processes.