Risk-Informed Urban Development in Africa

Resilience Initiative Africa (RIA)

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  • Commissioning Party

    German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

  • Country

    African Union and select member states

  • Lead executing agency


  • Overall term

    2022 to 2025

  • Other Stakeholders

    4C40 Peace and Emergency Aid, Hanna Maier and 4C30 Democracy, Digital Governance and Cities, Annette Lutz

  • Products and expertise

    Climate, environment, management of natural resources


Disaster risk management strives to make individuals and communities more resilient to extreme events. Current approaches, however, often only consider individual threats, such as natural hazards. In many regions of Africa, climate change, epidemics and conflicts are putting economic and social advancements at risk and exacerbating existing forms of inequality. Major urban areas are among the first places where people, materials and infrastructure are exposed to risks. Those who live in disadvantaged, informal settlements are especially vulnerable.

With the urban population of Africa projected to grow by nearly a billion people over the next three decades, there is an urgent need to act.

Unfortunately, the countries, regions and communities on the continent are not documenting current risks in a systematic way. For this reason the risks cannot yet be adequately factored into governmental planning and implementation activities. Doing so is essential to ensuring risk-informed urban development and improving the resilience of urban areas.


The ability of state and non-state actors to identify and document risks has improved, which promotes risk-informed development in urban disaster risk management in Africa.


On the basis of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the African Union's Agenda 2063, this project is advocating for inclusive, gender-responsive urban development. To that end, it is working with the AU and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) to build a learning and exchange platform that makes it possible for different regions in Africa to share their experiences. It is also implementing a number of participatory pilot measures, one of which involves working with women's groups to improve early flood-warning systems in selected informal settlements. In cities and communities that are particularly at risk, a stronger effort is being made to include people with disabilities in preventive activities.

Last updated: June 2023

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