By Abdi Ali
Published December 18, 2017
Edlam Yemeru, head of Urbanisation Section at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), says urbanisation needs to be seen as a core driver of productivity and economic growth.
“The strategic integration of urbanization into national development planning … is crucial for realizing the visions of the New Urban Agenda in Africa,” she told a two-day Regional Meeting on the Harmonized Regional Framework for the Implementation of the New Urban Agenda in Africa in Cape Town, South Africa. “Only when it is well planned and managed can urbanization contribute to greater economic dynamism, job-creation, and poverty-reduction.”
Naison D Mutizwa-Mangiza, Director of UN-Habitat’s Regional Office for Africa, said African countries cannot achieve a structural transformation of their economies without improvements in how cities and towns are planned and managed and without fully recognising the contribution of urbanisation to sustainable national development.
“If translated into effective policies implemented in an integrated way, building a robust urban governance structure, as well as deploying supportive rules and regulations, sound urban planning and design assisted by viable financial strategies, the New Urban Agenda can ensure that cities function as transformational drivers of sustainable development,” Mutizwa-Mangiza said.
He said the New Urban Agenda provides a framework for the achievement of sustainable urbanisation and for maximising its contribution to sustainable development.
Habofanoe Lehana, Lesotho’s Minister of Local Government, said Africa, more than any other region, needs to look at the New Urban Agenda more closely as it is urbanising faster than any other region and therefore bearing the biggest challenge associated with unplanned and unmanaged urbanisation.
Saying ‘effective implementation of the plan requires sustainable and meaningful partnerships at international, continental, regional, national, sub-national and community levels working in unison towards a common vision’, Khabele Matlosa, Director for Political Affairs at the African Union Commission (AUC), said, “There is need for an action-oriented roadmap to monitor, review and report on milestones achieved in respect of the New Urban Agenda.”