To inform the World Bank´s Water Practice efforts to help its client countries in tackling the urban WSS challenge, WSUP Advisory undertook a study to assess ways in which national institutions can incentivise subnational actors (such as utilities and municipal governments) to improve water and sanitation services for urban low-income communities. The study follows the World Bank´s existing framing of the Policies-Institutions-Regulation (PIR) concept, and focuses on sub-Saharan Africa, with comparative consideration of four countries selected on the basis of geography and anglophone/francophone representativity: Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mozambique, and Zambia. The approach included literature reviews and key informant interviews. It looked specifically at incentivisation mechanisms in terms of legislation and policy, financing, and regulation as well as outside these categories. Additionally, WSUP Advisory identified a number of ways in which international actors can usefully drive incentivisation for improved services for the urban poor including “easy wins” such as mapping of low-income urban communities or supporting tenure regularisation and associated processes.