Archived Webinar

GPURL #OnlineLearningSeries: A Competitive City’s Response to COVID-19: Durban, South Africa - Leveraging Partnerships and Collaboration as Assets during the Crisis Response

“Learn how eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality is effectively leveraging partnerships and collaboration as assets during the crisis response.”

South Africa declared a National State of Disaster in light of the Covid-19 pandemic on 15 March 2020. The resultant lock down is now widely reported as one of the fastest and most stringent government actions taken around the world. The President declared the pandemic as the most severe challenge confronting the country since the dawn of democracy.

The City of Durban (eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality) is the economic hub of the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), which is the second largest economy in the country. The province boosts strategic economic assets in the Port of Durban which is the busiest container terminal on the continent and the petrochemical hub for South Africa. The city demonstrates two key assets that we know are present in Competitive Cities – a) a deep, data driven understanding of the local economy and b) a collaborative approach with active growth coalitions and partnerships between government, private sector and civic society. The city was able to leverage these assets to move quickly to understand the impact of the crisis and design and implement rapid responses where needed most.

About the Presenters

Sameh Wahba

Global Director, Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice

World Bank

Sameh Wahba, an Egyptian national, is the Global Director for the World Bank’s Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice, based in Washington, D.C. The Global Practice, which also covers territorial development, geospatial and results-based-financing issues, has a portfolio of close to $30 billion in commitments in investment projects, program-for-results and development policy lending, and about 450 staff. Prior to this, Mr. Wahba served as the Director for Urban and Territorial Development, Disaster Risk Management and Resilience at the World Bank Group’s Social, Urban Rural, and Resilience Global Practice, where he oversaw the formulation of the World Bank’s strategy, design, and delivery of all lending, technical assistance, policy advisory activities, and partnerships at the global level. He also served as Practice Manager for the Urban and Disaster Risk Management unit in Africa and the Global Urban and Resilience Unit, and as Acting Director of Operations and Strategy for the Global Practice. He worked as Sustainable Development Sector Leader for Brazil, based in Brasilia, and as an urban specialist focused on housing, land, local economic development, and municipal management and service delivery in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the Middle East and North Africa Regions. Prior to joining the Bank in 2004, he worked at the Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies in Rotterdam and at the Harvard Center for Urban Development Studies. Mr. Wahba holds a Ph.D. and Master’s degree in urban planning from Harvard University, and a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Architectural Engineering from Cairo University. 

Carli Bunding-Venter

Senior Urban Development Specialist, World Bank

Carli Venter, a South African national, is a Senior Urban Development Specialist with the World Bank based in Bucharest, Romania. She has extensive experience spanning both the private and public sectors, with an in-depth understanding of public management, urban governance, and economic development at the local and regional levels. Her skillset includes policy and strategy formulation, research, project planning, facilitation, the design and implementation of the participatory process, the design of governance processes, and the ability to navigate the intergovernmental and public-private space. She holds an undergraduate and honors degree in Financial Management, a Master's degree (cum laude) in Environmental Management, and a Ph.D. in Public Management focused on collaboration and partnerships in Regional and Local Economic Development.

Rupert Barnard

Founder and Group Managing Director, Kaiser EDP

Over the past 20 years, Rupert has consulted to both the public and private sectors across Africa, Europe, the US, the Middle East, and India. In 1998, he established Kaiser EDP, a specialist economic development consulting firm focusing on economic policy, sector and regional development, trade and investment facilitation, infrastructure development, and programme management in Africa. Key clients include national and provincial governments, multilateral organisations, development agencies and public-private partnerships. Rupert has specific expertise in developing policy and strategy to leverage economic benefits of mining in Southern and West Africa, through supporting local content/local procurement. He also specialises in value chain development, trade analysis, investment requirements analysis and feasibility assessment. In addition, he leads Kaiser’s renewable energy business.

Michelle de Bruyn

Managing Director, Kaiser EDP

Michelle joined Kaiser EDP in 2002. She has consulted to both the public and private sectors across Africa and the Middle East. Michelle is an expert in economic policy and strategy development. She has managed over 50 economic development projects. Her content specialisations include sector development, SMME support, design and innovation, and spatial economic development. She also has extensive process expertise in stakeholder management and policy drafting. Michelle’s previous work experience included being a policy drafter and coordinator for the South African Department of Trade and Industry’s Executive Management Unit, and the Trade and Industry Chamber Coordinator at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

Dr. Ajiv Maharaj

Deputy Head Economic Development, eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality

Dr. Ajiv Maharaj has been working as Deputy Head of Economic Development and Investment Promotion Unit at the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality since 2011. Before joining the Municipality, he worked as a Development Manager focusing on implementing development projects and Manager of the Durban Beachfront, as well as Project Executive focusing on industrial sector. He authored a book on Locality Based Approach to Tourism and initiated a publication called EDGE (Economic Development and growth in EThekwini) and currently serves on various committees. He holds a Master’s degree in Town and Regional Planning and PhD in Urban Geography.

Questions Submitted

Mahaman Mourtala

- Nov 2, 2021


- Jun 4, 2021


- Jan 13, 2021

Joy Mildred Adhiambo

- Jun 9, 2020
A Competitive City’s Response to COVID-19: Durban, South Africa - Leveraging Partnerships and Collaboration as Assets during the Crisis Response


- May 27, 2020


- May 21, 2020


- May 19, 2020
Great. Thank you!


- May 19, 2020
That's great!

Mohammad Nadir

- May 16, 2020
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