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Kenya offers UN-Habitat Sh3m more

Monday May 27 2019
UHURU

President Uhuru Kenyatta looks at the design for the solar system for the new offices at the UN buildings in Nairobi during the opening of the Habitat assembly on May 27,2019. PHOTO | PSCU

By LEOPOLD OBI
By ANITA CHEPKOECH

Kenya will increase its contribution to the United Nations Human Settlement Foundation by $30,000 (Sh3 million), President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Monday.

During the inaugural Habitat assembly at the UN offices in Gigiri, Mr Kenyatta stressed the country’s commitment to implementing the Urban Agenda, a programme jointly set up by countries to elevate the status of towns and improve the quality of life.

Kenya has already embarked on a plan to build 500,000 low-cost houses by 2022.

MORTGAGE

“My government will increase its contribution to UN-Habitat Human Settlement Foundation from $70,000 to $100,000,” the President said, adding that Kenya would consider additional contributions during pledging session.

He said the government has facilitated the establishment of a mortgage liquidity facility — the Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company — to support the development of primary and secondary mortgage markets.

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The company, he said, would provide secure long-term funding to mortgage lenders and increase the availability of affordable loans to Kenyans.

The assembly is the first big inter-governmental forum on urban development issues.

The discussions will centre on how to implement the agenda adopted in 2016 and the sustainable development goals.

3,000 DELEGATES

More than 3,000 delegates from across the world, including mayors, governors, private industry players, and academics, are taking part in the event.

Some 70 exhibitors will also showcase their innovations on improved urban planning, sanitation, housing and public transport, among others.

Leaders admitted that efforts to upgrade slums have borne little success.

The number of slum dwellers in Kenya has risen to 6.4 million, making up 56 per cent of the urban population, the meeting was told.

At the opening of the five-day event, also attended by UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif and UN Environment Programme acting Executive Director Joyce Msuya, President Kenyatta called on UN member states to increase and honour their contributions to the foundation.

ILL-PREPARED

He said societies around the world are ill-prepared for the rapid urbanisation taking place.

“As a result, many countries have witnessed the proliferation of slums, poverty and environmental degradation,” he added.

Ms Sharif said lack of proper city planning has negative consequences for current and future generations.

“It means poverty, socio-economic inequality, slums, humanitarian crises, conflict, climate change, high unemployment and gender discrimination in urban centres,” she said.

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