Poor urban planning is the leading cause of slums in many cities and towns in Africa, the Prime Minister of Chad Mr. Kalzeubet Pahimi Deubet has said.
Giving a key note address at the ongoing fifth session of the African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Development (AMCHUD) currently underway in his country’s capital N’Djamena, Mr. Deubet said his country was fully sold to the idea of sustainable urbanization in Africa.
“Chad is committed to promote sustainable urbanization in Africa and has embarked on major urban renewal projects as well as developing housing projects for the citizens. But a lot still needs to be done for housing and creation of public spaces,” he said adding that major urban areas in Chad still lack access to housing and basic services. There was need to develop urban planning tools that would help planners and local government to design sustainable urban development. Current urban developments are not followed by proper planning and proper services leading to the development of slums. The government is committed to the development of planning tools, site and serviced plots, demonstration projects as well as the building of the capacity of the planners, he added.
UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos said African continent owed debts of gratitude to Presidents John Mahama of Ghana and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria whose initiative in New York last year helped define the African Urban Agenda with the aim of ensuring that it is reflected in the Africa Agenda 2063. The two governments had made generous voluntary contributions to UN-Habitat towards translating the initiative into action, he said.
He said the meeting was taking place at a very exciting time for Africa as the continent was ready for take-off. The theme of “Financing Human Settlements in Africa: Appropriate Legislative Frameworks and Innovations” was very apt. One of the priorities of UN-Habitat’s Strategic Plan for 2014-2019 i8s Urban Economy and Municipal Finance, the Executive Director said, adding that the agency’s work in that area had identified a number of policy and legislative directions that governments may consider.
Because Africa was the most rapidly urbanizing region of the world, there was a need for a new and more positive perspective of urbanization. The proposed perspective places much higher emphasis on the contribution of urbanization to the economic and social dimensions of sustainable national development.
The Executive Director also talked of social sustainability saying that it was clear that poverty could not be successfully tackled without addressing the needs of billions of urban poor including access to adequate housing, clean drinking water,sanitation, domestic energy, transport and others. On environmental sustainability, Dr. Clos said cities, especially those in the developed world, contribute up to 70 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Because urban planning in both developing and developed world had followed post World War II model urban model, this had resulted in sprawiling urban settlements , many in the form of megacities which are environmentally unsustainable. Rapid urbanization in Africa had given rise to peri-urbaniztion most of it informal, spontaneous and unplanned.
In conclusion Dr. Close mphasized that Africa’s Urban Agenda offered a unique opportunity to better address the needs of the population, foster sustainable economic growth and bypass some of the inconveniences of the‘international model’.
In his address, Chad’s Minister of Urban Development, Housing, Land Affairs and Administration Mr. Gata Ngoulougave an overview of the debates that marked the first two days of the conference. During the roundtable with donors, exchanges on best practices have been at the centre of the debates. Main challenges were summarized under the formula of the “4F”: foncier(tenure), financment (finance), fiscality(taxes) and formation (training).
In his statement, the AfDB Resident Representative in Chad Mr. Michel Djienna Wembu reaffirmed the commitment and readiness of the Bank to increase financial allocation for housing and urban development projects, and for the implementation of innovative solutions to promote sustainable urbanization in Africa. He reiterated that the Bank enjoyed excellent collaboration with national governments and key stakeholders in urban development if Africa.
Under the private sector interventions, the Bank provides financial support to Shelter Afrique and national institutions that promote access to social housing and shelter for higher income group. The Bank also assists national government to establish and support Housing Finance Institutions.