Monday, April 23, 2012

Optimizing Africa's mega-cities

Kaci Racelma in via African Renewal Online: As African cities implode, leaders on the continent are intensifying efforts to address the challenges of urbanization. A forum bringing together Africa's housing ministers was recently held in Nairobi, Kenya on 20 March 2012 under the auspices of the African Ministers Conference on Housing and Urban Development (AMCHUD). The 4th annual meeting focused on territorial planning and access to basic services for all.

It also looked to integrate climate change issues for a smarter more sustainable urban development. In the last 7 years, the conference has allowed members to share ideas and discuss effective strategies in line with the "cities without slums" initiative that was originally adopted in 2005.

For some slum dwellers on the continent, it's just talk. "I am only interested in being removed from here, to live in a more decent environment," says Rachid Lashab, who lives in the Essekouila slum in Casablanca. "I am not interested in the many conferences that our leaders attend."

Crowding and disease According to estimates by UN-Habitat, 200 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were living in slums in 2010, or 61.7 per cent of the region's urban population, the highest rate in the world. North Africa had another 12 million slum dwellers; that was just 13.3 per cent of its urban residents, the lowest rate in the developing world....

RDP Houses in Soweto (RDP stands for the government's Reconstruction and Development Programme), shot by ign11, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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