In support of the Big Four Agenda, the government in partnership with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) is committed to ensuring a sustainable urban growth.
To this effect, the DFID East Africa Research Hub is holding a two day Urbanization Conference aimed at shaping cities as systems through urbanization and spatial justice.
Speaking on Tuesday during the conference, State Department for Housing and Urban Development Principal Secretary (PS), Charles M. Hinga said DFID findings would inform the ongoing transformative reforms being implemented by the country.
“The Kenyan Government has given huge premium to science – informed decision making, therefore the DFID’s support to research on urbanization is highly commendable,” said Hinga.
He noted that the objectives of the Conference, included identifying potential social, environmental, policy, and management measures to tackle air pollution in Nairobi (Kenya), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), and Kampala (Uganda).
“Urban air quality is an important issue to the country given the rapid rate of urbanization from eight percent to 35 percent between 1963 and 2018 respectively,” said the PS.
The PS stated that the rapid rate of urbanization has led to expansion of informal settlements which housed over 50 percent of the urban population.
“The increased number of vehicles in the last two decades and lack of basic infrastructure and services such as waste management are major drivers of air quality challenges in the urban areas and cities,” said PS.
The British High Commission Deputy High Commissioner, Susie Kitchens said that by 2030, almost half the population in Kenya was expected to live in urban areas with half of the population being the youth.
“Many young people are moving to the urban areas in search of jobs, opportunities and more choices thus the need for sustainable, resilient and inclusive urbanization,” said Kitchens.
Kitchens noted that in support of the President’s affordable housing agenda the UK has put together programs including the Sustainable Urban Economic Development (SUED) programme an investment of 67 million pounds.
“Through the SUED program the UK is committed to supporting County Governments to create opportunities for fast-growing municipalities to foster balanced and inclusive growth and promote sustainable urban economic development,” said Kitchens.
By Rosebell Njega/Joseph Ng’ang’a