East African governments are committed to speedy implementation of slum upgrading initiatives to secure affordable shelter for the urban poor.
The East African cities are grappling with informal and unregulated human settlements due to rapid population growth occasioned by rural to urban migration."Kenya has accelerated the implementation of flagship slum improvement projects to improve livelihoods and contribute to social and economic development," Kenya's Permanent Secretary Tirop Kosgey said in the Kenya's Ministry of Housing.
Kosgey spoke during the East African Regional Conference on Approaches to Informal Settlements Upgrading held in Nairobi on Wednesday.
Kenya is among African countries with the highest population living in slums.According to the Country's 2009 census, of the 18 million Kenyans in urban areas, two thirds live in slums.The government in partnership with development partners has rolled out flagship slum upgrading projects in major cities.
Experts say towns and cities are growing today at unprecedented rates setting the social, political, cultural and environmental trends of the world, both good and bad.They say sustainable urbanization is one of the most pressing challenges facing the global community in the 21st century. According to Kosgey, implementation of the Kenya Slum Upgrading Project (KESUP) and the Kenya Informal
Settlements Improvement Project is on course."The projects addresses housing, infrastructure and cross- cutting health and environmental issues to improve livelihoods," said Kosgey.He stressed that completion of the slum upgrading projects will set the pace in provision of affordable housing for the less privileged.
The government has allocated 12 million dollars towards the Kenya slum upgrading project targeting 250,000 people in Kibera.Kosgey revealed that this project will be completed by 2015 and involve construction of low cost modern houses, paved roads and social amenities including schools, hospitals and play grounds.The East African region could experience a tipping point in slums expansion due to a rural urban influx.