19 November 2017
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Govt for improved urban governance

Written by  Gladys Kamakanda
Kachikho speaking to members of press after the briefing - Pic by Gladys Kamakanda Kachikho speaking to members of press after the briefing - Pic by Gladys Kamakanda

Lilongwe, October 25, 2017: Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development has said this year’s focus of World Cities Day is to stimulate discussions at all levels of government and relevant stakeholders on how to implement and improve urban governance.

Minister responsible Anna Kachikho made the remarks Wednesday in Lilongwe during a press briefing of the 2017 World Cities and World Habitat Day.

She said the sustainable development of cities is often suffering from several setbacks.

“Our issues in the cities as Malawi include; rapid population growth, increased urban sprawl, housing shortage, traffic congestion and inadequate infrastructure and service provision among others,” she said.

Kachikho further said these pose a challenge to the existing governance models of the cities and their capacity to respond, as such, there was a need to improve the capacity of local governance, strengthen integrated urban development, inter-city cooperation, develop innovation citizen participation models and involve stakeholders in their joint search of sustainable urban development.

She said in observing the World Habitat Day, government is paying tribute to the efforts of all people in Malawi and in the entire world who are engaged in producing one of the basic necessities of human life.

“We are all aware that affordability of housing in cities is an increasingly universal concern which results in inequality and exclusion,” she said, adding that most urban dwellers spend more than a third of their income on housing and this undermines options that may range from peripheral isolated locations, far from jobs income opportunities, to informal solutions with insecure tenure and increased vulnerabilities.

Kachikho added that this year’s World Habitat Day also focuses on encouraging all levels of government and relevant stakeholders to reflect on how to implement concrete initiatives to ensure adequate and affordable housing.

She said this is in a context of implementation of the New Urban Agenda as well as the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

She said in Malawi the Decent and Affordable Housing Subsidy Program (DAHSP) which is targeting the rural and urban poor, Slum upgrading programs in the major cities of Lilongwe, Blantyre and Zomba, formulation of the National Housing Policy to improve housing service delivery and establishment of a Housing ownership scheme for public servants, have been implemented.

Chief Executive Officer for Lilongwe City Council, Charles Makanga said the council has a lot of problems because many people are coming within the town which is leading them to stay in squatters.

“We thought of redoing the squatters by constructing road through the Local Development Fund program, government again is giving us money every year for construction of road networks,” said Makanga.

The United Nations General Assembly designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day. The UN theme for this year is ‘Innovative Governance, Open Cities to highlight the important role of urbanization as a source of global development and social inclusion.

While in Malawi the World Habitat Day is being commemorated under the theme ‘Housing Policies, Affordable Homes’.

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