UN-HABITAT’S Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka this week told a high-level gathering of European and African officials at a development conference in Brussels that uncoordinated and uncontrolled urban growth in Africa was generating extreme poverty on the Continent.
The European Development Days conference 13-17 November was sponsored by the European Commissioner for Development, Mr. Louis Michel. It drew 19 African leaders, as well as senior UN, European Commission, and European Parliament figures, and representatives of the private sector and non-governmental organizations
Mrs. Tibaijuka said African countries, whose modern political and economic history did not exceed four decades, had to adapt to rapid changes, primarily resulting from globalization. Among these changes, she said “uncoordinated and uncontrolled urbanization is generating extreme urban poverty affecting the whole African continent”.
In line with the proposals of the Blair Commission for Africa, Mrs. Tibaijuka reiterated the idea of inclusion and participation of all the actors in the management of the decentralized territorial entities through consensual and responsible local governance. This was essential to endow the African State with constitutional legitimacy, which is currently lacking.
Referring to the Millennium Development Goals, Mrs. Tibaijuka appealed for intervention and fast action in view of the deteriorating living conditions of approximately 200 million people living in slums in the African urban areas and cities.
The next European Development Days are to be held in Lisbon, Portugal in 2007.