Dakar’s Municipal Bond Issue: A Tale of Two Cities
Currently the rapid growth of Africa's cities overwhelms their central and municipal governments. Strategic planning has been insufficient and the provision of basic services to residents is worsening. Widespread devolution, since the 1990's has substantially shifted responsibility for coping with urbanization to local authorities, yet municipal governments across Africa receive a paltry share of national income with which to discharge their responsibilities. Responsible and proactive city authorities are examining how to improve revenue generation and diversify their sources of finance. Municipal bonds may be a financing option for some capital cities, depending on the legal and regulatory environment, investor appetite, and the creditworthiness of the borrower and proposed investment projects. This Briefing Note describes an attempt by the city of Dakar, the capital of Senegal, to launch the first municipal bond in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) area, and considers the ramifications of the central government blocking the initiative.