Kenya to promote sustainable urbanization

Kenya plans to promote sustainable urbanization through a raft of laws and policies, a senior government official said on Monday.

James Macharia, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, told an urban forum in Nairobi that Kenya is rapidly urbanizing at a rate of 4.3 percent per annum and it is projected that by 2030, urban population will be over 22 million people.

“Parliament has approved a number of facilitative policies which include the National Urban Development Policy, National Building Maintenance Policy and National Slum Upgrading and Prevention Policy. In addition, Parliament will soon enact the Urban Areas and Cities (Amendment) Act in order to promote sustainable urbanization,” Macharia said during the National Urban Forum.

The two-day event aims at re-examining Kenya’s urbanization trends, the status of human settlements and milestones achieved since the adoption of the New Urban Agenda in October 2016.

The forum also serves as a preparatory platform for the upcoming Ninth Session of the World Urban Forum.

Macharia said the current rapid urban growth being experienced in Kenya has not been commensurate with infrastructural development, industrialization and growth in the manufacturing industry.

“This has resulted in a number of challenges in our cities which include urban sprawl, increased poverty and growth of informal settlements among others,” he added.

Macharia said that despite the negative impacts, Kenyan cities contribute over 60 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Macharia said Africa is recognized as the least urbanized yet the fastest urbanizing continent in the world with an urban population expected to double over the next 20 years.

He noted that the continent’s urbanization level which was estimated at 40 percent in 2010 is expected to reach 60 percent by 2050 with the urban dwellers increasing from 400 million to about 1.26 billion. Enditem