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Urban Expert

Kinshasa (Congo Democratic)

  • Organization: United Nations Human Settlements Programme
  • Location: Kinshasa (Congo Democratic)
  • Grade: Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Infrastructure and Urban-Rural development
    • Urban Development, planning and design
  • Closing Date: 2021-10-19

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Result of Service

The overall objective of the assignment is to revisit the UN-Habitat engagement in the DR Congo taking into consideration emerging opportunity in the urban sector and to develop a new engagement strategy with clear priorities and actions.

Work Location

Democratic Republic of Congo

Expected duration

4 Months

Duties and Responsibilities

DRC is the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) with a land mass equivalent to Western Europe. DRC is rich in natural resources, including minerals such as cobalt and copper, hydropower potential, significant arable land, immense biodiversity, and the world’s second largest rainforest. It has the third largest population of poor globally and this is increasing due to impacts from COVID-19. In 2018, it was estimated that 73% of the Congolese population, equaling 60 million people, lived on less than $1.90 a day (the international poverty rate). As such, about one out of six people living in extreme poverty in SSA - live in DRC. The Democratic Republic of Congo has the third largest urban population in sub-Saharan Africa (estimated at 43% in 2016) after South Africa and Nigeria. It is expected to grow at a rate of 4.1% per year, equating to 1 million residents moving to cities each year. If this trend continues, the urban population could double in just 15 years. With a population of 12 million and a growth rate of 5.1% per year, Kinshasa is poised to become the most populous city in Africa by 2030.
There is a pertinent need to harness this rapid urbanization trend as a driving force for development. According to the World Bank, such strong urban growth in DRC comes with two main challenges – the need to make cities livable and inclusive by meeting the high demand for social services, infrastructure, education, health, and other basic services; and the need to make cities more productive by addressing the lack of concentrated economic activity. This requires major investment in infrastructure that drives SDG achievement. To do this, city institutions need to be responsive to citizen needs, able to plan and prioritize investment that generates SDG impact, and able to attract and sustainably manage a broad range of investment options, including through creating a conducive investment environment and developing, describing, and filing viable, investment ready high-impact initiatives.
Many interventions have been taken over the last years to improve living conditions in cities and urban centers. But the size of the countries of the level of dilapidation of public infrastructures may not offer conducive environment to building prosperous and resilient cities in the DRC, in addition to obsolete policies and regulations. Today the DRC has not developed any comprehensive national urban policy to anticipate the challenges of the rapid trend of urbanization while harnessing the potential of secondary cities. This will require a new paradigm in addressing urbanization challenges taking into consideration the fragility in many part of the country prone to violence (North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituru, Kassai), with an increase urban population with the protracted displacement from violence and conflict.
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.UN-Habitat helps the urban poor by transforming cities into safer, healthier, greener places with better opportunities where everyone can live in with dignity. It works with organizations at every level, including all spheres of government, civil society and the private sector to help build, manage, plan and finance sustainable urban development. UN-Habitat has more than decade of collaboration with the GoDRC on various aspects: housing policies, slum upgrading, safer cities, basic infrastructures and planning Currently, UN-Habitat is supporting the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to improve land governance for sustainable peace and security and to tackle urban related challenges in the country. With the emerging trends in the urban sector in Africa, UN-Habitat has established a 4 year strategic plan (2020-2023) articulated around 4 domains of change (Doc1: Reduced spatial inequality; DoC 2: Enhanced shared prosperity; DoC 3: Strengthen Climate Action; DoC 4: Effective urban crisis prevention) to support member states towards more transformative approach and policies to urban expansion. This strategic plan has been trickled down in the Africa context through a regional strategy aligning with the AU 2063 transformative vision, in the Regional Office for Africa. UN-Habitat engagement in Africa is also pursuing the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the SDGs (goal 11). After decade of engagement in DRC, the emerging global and regional frameworks are offering an opportunity to UN-Habitat to make itself more relevant in the context of the DRC with the rapid trend of urbanization.


The overall objective of the assignment is to revisit the UN-Habitat engagement in the DR Congo taking into consideration emerging opportunity in the urban sector and to develop a new engagement strategy with clear priorities and actions.


Under the supervision of the Human Settlements Officer in the Regional Office for Africa, in collaboration with other divisions and branches within UN-Habitat (Land, Shelter and Housing; Urban Governance and Policies; Urban Planning and Design, Basic Services…) the consultant will have to fulfil the following duties and responsibilities:

1. Quick scan and assessment of the urban sector to identify emerging issues, challenges, and opportunity.
2. Analyse the institutional framework dealing with urbanization and investigate coherency, gaps and strengthen.
3. Map various interventions in the urban sector, including actors involved from donors, philanthropic, private sector, financial institutions, civil society…
4. A quick review and analysis of UN-Habitat engagement in the urban sector in the DRC at both levels: policies and operations.
5. Analysis of the level of consideration of the urban dimension into various instruments: National Development plans, UNSCF, Stabilization plans.
6. Liaise with various UN agencies and analyse possible articulation with UN-Habitat’s mandate in the DR Congo (UNDP, UNICEF, UNCDF, ILO, UN-Women….).
7. Provide recommendation for the scale up of the UN-Habitat’s engagement in the land sector, including the implementation of the draft national land policies; and support the negotiation of the second phase of the CAFI program.
8. Provide recommendations on key areas of interventions of UN-Habitat in the coming years and likely scenarios.

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications: •Advanced university degree in urban planning/engineering/architecture, urban governance, Housing, Land management or discipline relevant to urban/rural or regional planning, urban management, and/or any relevant social science disciplines relating to international development is required.
Experience: Minimum 15 years of working experience relevant in urban development issues and strategies, social sciences, policy development, and institutional capacity building is required .
Language: English and French are the official languages of the UN, for this assignment Fluency in English with excellent written and oral communication skills is required, knowledge of local languages is an asset

Additional Information

Professionalism: Ability to identify key strategic issues, opportunities and risks. Ability to generate and communicate broad and compelling organizational direction. Ability to communicate clearly links between the Organization's strategy and the work unit's goals. Demonstrated ability to provide innovative technical leadership by performing and/or overseeing the planning, development, and management of operation. Demonstrated ability to negotiate and apply good judgment Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations.

•Planning& Organizing: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.

•Accountability: Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honors commitments. Delivers outputs for which one has responsibility within prescribed time, cost and quality standards. Operates in compliance with organizational regulations and rules.

No Fee


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Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
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