Interview with Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General for UN-Habitat

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Urbanisation of cities is now characterised with slums due to lack of planning by some local government authorities, says UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General Aisa Kirabo Kacyira.

In an interview after the launch of the 2016 Africa Economic Outlook report whose theme is ‘Sustainable Cities and Structural Transformation’, Kacyira said that urbanisation alone doesn’t result in development.

“For urbanisation to be successful and transform the lives of people, it has to be accompanied by several factors, which include planning by local government authorities and the engagement of people,” she said.

“Oftentime people are marginalised in the process, and we are now seeing the process of development in the cities being characterised with slums due to lack of planning,” she said.

Kacyira advised that leaders should open up and listen in order to arrive at decisions.

“Planning is about doing it with people, and cities can become sustainable with careful planning. The bigger the city, the more it becomes susceptible to problems. Another factor to consider also is the need to address land governance issues when planning for the development of a city,” she said.

She said the process of building a sustainable city can also be used as a tool to create employment.

“Ethiopia is one example where the housing projects in Addis Ababa have been used to create jobs,” Kacyira said.