Urban development policy review underway
Livingstone, April 16, ZANIS—Local government and housing minister Emerine Kabanshi says a review of laws and policies governing urban development in the country is under way.
The minister says this is in order to arrest the continued deterioration of urban living conditions of the majority of the Zambians.
Ms Kabanshi has since called on the private sector to partner with government in addressing the challenges of rapid urbanisation and in the delivery of basic services to those living in unplanned settlements.
The Minister has noted with concern that the unplanned settlements have continued to grow without adequate provision of basic essential services.
According to a statement made available to ZANIS today, Ms Kabanshi was speaking in Nairobi, Kenya when she gave a status report on unplanned settlements in Zambia to the 24th session of the Governing Council of the UN Habitat currently taking place in Nairobi, Kenya.
She said government has also undertaken an assessment of the performance of the cities and towns with regard to access to essential basic services such as housing, solid waste management, water supply and sanitation, as these were critical to the productivity of the urban population.
‘’To move the country towards more efficient and sustainable cities and towns, my government with the help of UN-Habitat shall hold consultative processes that should result in the development of the country’s first ever comprehensive urban policy,’’ she said.
Ms Kabanshi said given that Zambia is one of the most urbanised countries on the African continent and that projections were that the cities and towns shall continue growing rapidly and that governments have no option but to start addressing the deficits in the provision of essential basic services.
‘’Accordingly, my government is willing to learn from proven best practises from other countries. I therefore invite UN-Habita, the private sector, cooperating and Non-Governmental organisations to partner with my government to meet the challenges of rapid urbanisation, and especially the delivery of basic services to those living in unplanned urban settlements.
Ms Kabanshi observed that in the last twenty years, the unplanned settlements have continued to take the bulk of Zambia’s urban population.
She said the proportion of urban dwellers in unplanned settlements ranges from about 40 percent in the smaller towns to seventy percent in the big cities like Lusaka.
The minister added that urban services in unplanned settlements are poor, inadequate and unreliable and that they have continued to grow without adequate provision of basic essential services.