Mahama pledges to champion Africa’s urban development

Wednesday 9th April , 2014 1:55 pm

President John Mahama

President John Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama has pledged his commitment  to champion the cause of sustainable urban  development  in    Africa, working in collaboration with fellow African leaders.

President Mahama made the commitment when he addressed the United Nations (UN) Habitat 7th World Urban Forum (WUF7) currently underway at Medellin, Colombia, following an invitation extended to him by the UN-Habitat to champion the African Urban Agenda for sustainable urban development.

The WUF7 event is being held on the theme: ¨Urban Equity in Development – Cities for Life,¨ and will focus on seeking ways to strengthen and develop institutional framework for sustainable urban development and housing.

He said African leaders and ordinary citizens together had to urgently craft interventions that   will make their cities viable in the face of the challenges they faced.

“These interventions must create equal opportunity for all our people to take advantage of the African dream”, he added.    ‘

President Mahama indicated that the Arab Spring had taught Africa that it was no longer  acceptable    to be    ambivalent     about   the   needs   of   the   poor   and   marginalized   in   society.

He observed that in   the  next  two decades  African urbanisation   will continue  to   grow rapidly, and  towns  in the Sahelian regions  will  grow  just   as  fast      as  the    coastal  cities.  “The implementation of innovative concepts    of    urban    development    corridors    and    mega-­‐urban    regions    is    no    longer    a    question of ‘if’, but ‘when’ ”.

President Mahama said  although   the   phenomenon  of mega-­‐urban regions  and  corridors reflected the extent of the challenge   African countries faced,it also indicated the potential for investment  and  the opportunity for  economic growth, whereby domestic  and   foreign  investors   had   the  opportunity to forge   partnerships with   central and local governments to invest in infrastructure, service and    industry.

In a speech, President Senor Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia said the commitment of world leaders are needed in order to achieve transformation of well-planned urban cities.

He said Colombia was more than willing to listen and learn from all the experts gathered at the forum.

President Santos noted that a few years ago Medellin was full of filth and drug related cases, with three out of four Colombian citizens living in urban areas.

He further stated that housing was one of the things that will get the world out poverty, adding, “Not just social housing, but decent housing.”

Dr    Jan    Clos, Executive Director of UN-­‐Habitat, and Mr. Anibal Gaviriia Correa, Mayor of Medellin also took turns to address the forum

WUF7 will serve as a platform to determine the guidelines for Habitat III, the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development scheduled for 2016.

It will also look at progress in understanding the role of local governments in drafting proposals and policies for urban development.

Source: GNA