As Abu Dhabi prepares to host the World Urban Forum in February this year, Kenya is in top gear putting forward a national conversation to drive the urbanization agenda.
Several stakeholders led by the Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure James Macharia and Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o converged at the Grand Royal Swiss Hotel in Kisumu County to discuss and agree on a national position to be presented at the World Forum.
The National Urban Forum provides a platform for stakeholders to review progress made in addressing the challenges of rapid urbanization, and its impact on communities, cities, economies, and climate change.
The Consultative forum brings together like minded stakeholders and experts in the fields of housing and human settlements, providing them with an opportunity to share experiences and best practices, as well as to forge and strengthen partnerships in promoting sustainable urbanization and human settlements.
Governor Nyong’o while giving his keynote address to the delegates, noted that the forum is a good precursor to the Africities Summit to be held in Kisumu in November 2021 as it lays ground for proper planning and urban development as well as providing opportunity for comparative discussions on how best to do it.
He mentioned two very important aspects of urban development that is; having an environmentally sustainable, equitable and just urban development giving an example of the Kisumu’s Non-motorized transport system that takes care of 67% of its residents.
He outlined that to have an equitable and just system of services, the citizens must be provided by both motorized and non-motorized transport systems.
Secondly, order must be maintained. Governor Nyong’o reiterated that order is vital in any kind of urban planning to give room for proper commercial centres. He lauded the National Government in its efforts to put up the Uhuru Business Park that will bring freedom to traders allowing them to transit from informality to formality by providing more secure, sustainable and environmentally healthy spaces.
He noted that the advantages that come with formal commercial centres are many, and we must be ready to formalize the commercial line in urban centres to allow our traders access better services including credit facilities from commercial banks to boost their businesses.
His remarks were also echoed by CS Macharia who informed the delegates of the government’s intensified efforts to complete roadworks along the Kisumu Boys – Mamboleo junction. He also urged the residents and stakeholders to support the Governor in making Kisumu ready for the Africities.
From the forum, the CS is expected to have a brief tour at the recently rehabilitated Kisumu Port to supervise preparations ahead of the launch, a move that was welcomed by the Governor acknowledging that the opening of Kisumu Port is a very important aspect as it will provide an entry point into the region connecting the East African Countries.
Cognizant of the important role played by the lake in the areas of commerce, trade, entertainment and tourism and Kisumu having turned its back to the lake over the years, the Governor said his administration will cooperate with traders on Obote road to ensure that the trade is friendly to the lakefront environment and adds to the economy of the lake.
Also in attendance were: Nakuru Governor and Chair of the Housing and Urban Development Committee under CoG Lee Kinyanjui, PS State Department of Housing and Development Charles Hinga, Maimunah Mohd Sharif –UN Habitat Executive Director, Amb. Njambi Kinyungu among others.
By: Nancy Juma