man with glasses at a desk, looking like he is in mid-speech. A sign on desk says "UN Habitat for a better urban future"

Allan Cain

Adjunct Research Professor

Allan Cain – O.C. is an architect and specialist in project planning, microfinance, urban development. He has a degree in Environmental Studies, did his graduate studies at the Architectural Association (London, UK) and further specialist studies at Harvard University and Bolder, Colorado (in Microfinance and Housing Finance).  He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2004 and won several other awards for his work in international development. He has over 35 years of professional experience in developing countries, many of those in conflict and post-conflict Angola. He has worked as a consultant and lead research projects for the World Bank, UN Habitat, the European Union and other international organisations. He has lectured at universities in China, Angola, Norway, Portugal, USA, South Africa, UK and Canada where he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Ottawa and is currently an Adjunct Research Professor at Carleton University’s School of Architecture and Urbanism. He is a founding director of Development Workshop and a member of the boards of several development institutions. His articles and papers have been published widely in international journals. 



Certificate – Urban Land Use Planning, World Bank Institute, 2012

Executive Certificate – Finance Management, Harvard Business School, 2011

Certificate – International Housing Finance, The Wharton School & Witts University, 2008

Executive Certificate – Microfinance, Harvard Business School, 2007

Certificate – Microfinance Training Programme, Naropa University, 2004

Certificate – NGO Programme Management, Manitoba Insitute of Management, 1989

RIBA Part II – Royal Institute of British Architects, 1974

AA Dipl. (MArch) – Architecture Association, 1974

BA, Environmental Studies, University of Waterloo, 1971


2020 – 2021 Senior Consultant – World Bank – preparation of the Project – Strengthening Public Financial Management for Improved Service Delivery at Local Level on the improvement of spatial planning and land use management.

2019 – 2021 Team Leader – UN-Habitat & Angolan Government – performance review of National Program of Urbanisation and Housing, preparation of a revised National Housing Strategy and Participatory Slum Upgrading Program.

2014 – 2015 Senior Technical Advisor – African Development Bank – consultancy for Development of a Comprehensive National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program for Angola in partnership with Cowater International.

2012 – 2016 Team Leader – Climate Change, Flooding and Water-Supply in Angola’s Coastal Cities – research and demonstration project supported by the International Development Research Centre – Nairobi and the Angolan Ministry of Environment.

2010 – 2011 Team Leader – World Bank, Multi-Country Initiative on Strengthening Citizenship through Upgrading Informal Settlements Programme Technical assistance on urban land policy in Angola.

2009 – 2017 Team Leader –  FinMark Trust & Development Workshop – Housing Finance for Angola, Research on the formal and informal housing finance market in Angola, from both the supply and demand sides.

2008 Consultant – World Bank & Development Planning Unit (DPU) Housing, Planning and Land Tenure Study of Mozambique’s Municipal Development Programme (1997 – 2007) Maputo, Mozambique.

2000 Consultant, United Nations Development Programme – Review of UNDP Country Cooperation Framework for Angola (1997-2000), Expert team member evaluating and making recommendations on the future of UNDP’s 4 year programme covering: (a) Assistance to post-conflict issues, mine action, social re-integration, (b) community rehabilitation, poverty reduction, and (c) governance through improved economic management and administrative reforms.

1999-2003 Director – Angola Peacebuilding Project, Design and planning of a programme for building national reconciliation in war-torn Angola in collaboration with an ecumenical and civil society network, including the Angola Council of Churches, the Catholic Bishop’s Commission for Justice and Peace and the Angolan NGO Forum. Financed by International Development Research Centre, CIDA and the Canadian, Norwegian and Netherlands Ministries of Foreign Affairs.

1995 Consultant – World Bank, Luanda Water/Sanitation Beneficiary Assessment – Responsible for urban indicators mapping component for citywide assessment of potential for participation of beneficiaries in major World Bank supported infrastructural development programme. The programme was the first of its kind conducted in Angola.


A. Cain (2014), “Conflict and Collaboration for Water Resources in Angola’s Post-War Cities”, chapter in book Water and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, in the Series: Post-Conflict Peacebuilding and Natural Resource Management, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Environmental Law Institute (ELI), 21 March 2013, Routledge, New York.

A. Cain (2014), “African urban fantasies: past lessons and emerging realities”, Environment & Urbanization, April 2014 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). Vol 26(1): 1–7. DOI:, SAGE:

A. Cain (2014) “Informal settlements in urban coastal zones and adaptation to climatic variation”, Regional Development Dialogue, Vol. 35, 2014, UNCRD Nagoya , JAPAN

A. Cain (2017) “Alternatives to commodity-backed urbanization; the case of China in Angola”, Oxford Review of Economic Policy Volume 33, Number 3, 2017, pp. 478–495.

A. Cain (2017) “Water recourse management under a changing climate in Angola’s coastal settlements”, IIED Working Paper October 2017, ISBN: 978-1-78431-492-7,

A. Cain & A. Midi (2017) “African Struggles for the Right to the City, Global Platform for the Right to the city”,

A. Cain (2018) “Informal water markets and community management in peri-urban Luanda Angola” – Water International, Journal of the International Water Resources Association (IWRA), Volume 43, Published 20 Feb. 2018.

A. Cain (2019) “Women’s Tenure Rights and Land Reform in Angola”, presented to World Bank Land and Poverty Conference 27 March 2019,

A. Cain & A.C. Baptista (2020) “Community Management and the Demand for ‘Water for All’ in Angola’s Musseques”, Water 2020, Special Issue Human Rights to Water and Sanitation, 12(6), 1592;

A. Cain (2020) “Housing for whom? rebuilding Angola’s cities after conflict”, in Reframing the Urban Challenge in Africa, 06 December 2020, Routledge Studies in Cities and Development,

M. Ngombe, J. Domingos, A. Cain (2021) “COVID-19 in Angola’s slums: Providing evidence and a roadmap for participatory slum upgrading in pandemic times”, ICCCASU-4, Montreal (forthcoming).

A. Cain (2021) “Huambo – Angola’s Green City”, chapter in The Dynamics of Secondary Cities, Cities Alliance & African Development Bank (forthcoming).

A. Cain & J. Norton (2021) “Lessons from Climate Adaptation for a Regional Architecture”, presented at the Comfort at the Extremes Conference – Muscat, Oman (forthcoming)