To help the developing world’s cities plan and access financing for low-carbon and resilient development, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim launched the Low-Carbon, Livable Cities Initiative in 2013. One of the components of this initiative is the creditworthiness academy which is an intense set of training modules ranging from revenue management to climate smart capital investment planning, from debt financing options to the enabling environment for sub-national finance. The first session of the City Creditworthiness Program took place in Oct. 14-19 in Nairobi, Kenya. Additional trainings took place subsequently in Seoul Korea on April 21-26, 2014 and Arusha, Tanzania on August 4-8, 2014.
The latest City Creditworthiness Initiative took place in Bogota, Colombia from February 9-13, 2015. The event was co-hosted by Findeter, the financial institution for development in Colombia. The event was attended by 17 municipalities and 40 participants which brings up the total number of cities supported by this Initiative to 82, or 245 senior financial officials representing districts with over 62 million urban residents.
Each of the cities that have participated in this initiative have engaged with a core curriculum that includes a week of modules on subjects such as climate-smart capital investment planning, financial performance including own source revenue enhancement, and options for financing infrastructure projects at the sub-national level. Participants perform assessments of their critical areas of weakness, construct action plans with the assistance of Initiative experts. Many cities also participate in post academy technical assistance programs.
The Bogota Academy attracted a high level of donor support and coordination consistent with previous Academies. Findeter, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) were integral to the delivery of the academy, lending sector and regional expertise to the assessment and planning processes and also ensuring that post academy technical assistance will be delivered in cohesion with ongoing programs by national and international organizations. Findeter President Luis Fernando Arboleda Gonzalez and Swiss Ambassador Kurt Kunz opened the event, emphasizing the critical importance of sub-national creditworthiness for sustainable development in Colombia.
A highly engaged group of participants reacted positively to a curriculum that included speakers from national departments to local governments. Case studies from Medellin and Barranquilla demonstrated possible pathways to creditworthy financial management and also the power of creditworthiness in facilitating investment in roads, schools, hospitals and other critical infrastructure. Many participants expressed a strong desire to improve the network of cities so that they could learn directly and receive other assistance from those with recent experience. Fitch ratings rounded up a discussion of rating methodology and the sub-national market; IFC presented on options for pooled financing and Tax Increment Financing Schemes were discussed, noting the PPIAF funded work currently under implementation in Sevilla, Medellin.
As a next step, the work of structuring post academy support is well underway. The Initiative team is performing an analysis of the self-assessments and action plans in order to isolate core municipal priorities. The analysis - along with information gathered in meetings with local, national and international stakeholders - will form the basis of post academy technical assistance targeted to maximize impact on Colombian sub-national creditworthiness and climate-smart development planning.