Govt touts Secondary Cities’ Initiative as solution to proliferation of slums

The Malawi Government has moved to address proliferation of slums, insufficient service delivery, congestion on our roads, pollution and water problems, security concerns and environmental degradation currently facing the country’s four cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba.

The Minister of Local Government Professor Blessings Chinsinga said the government has adopted the Malawi Secondary Cities Initiative as a solution to the highlighted challenges.

Chinsinga made the sentiments when he launched the Malawi Secondary Cities Plan (MSCP) in Lilongwe on Tuesday.

Chinsinga (right, flanked by other senior officials) displaying the map for Secondary Cities Plan–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

Initially, President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera was scheduled to preside over the function, which took place at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC). The event attracted a wide range of participants, including business players, government officials and non-state actors.

In his remarks, Chinsinga said the effects of population growth have horrendously impacted on the livelihoods of citizens, in particular proliferation of slums, insufficient service delivery, congestion on our roads, pollution and water problems, security concerns and environmental degradation, among others.

“The adoption of the Secondary Cities Initiative has, therefore, come at the opportune time,” he said, adding that the Secondary Cities Plan is guided by the Malawi 2063 and MIP-1 as a focus area under the Urbanization Pillar.

Chinsinga said the urbanisation envisaged is to be linked to productive investments such as mining, agro industries and thriving tourism hubs.

He stressed that as Malawi thrives for world class cities, the country needs to have more than four cities in an effort not to leave anyone behind in development aspirations.

According to the minister, MSCP lays out the current spatial configuration, key trends related to land use, opportunities for infrastructure development as well as urbanization scenarios of our country for the next two generations.

“The plan shall spearhead a coordinated cross-sectoral planning effort for the management of urbanization processes across the country. The architecture of the Secondary Cities Initiative intends to push urbanisation benefits beyond the primary four cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba. These primary cities have services and infrastructure superior to other urban areas in the country.

“It is, therefore, within this comparative framework, that the creation of Secondary Cities in Karonga, Nkhatabay, Salima/Chipoka, Liwonde, Mangochi/Monkey Bay, Kasungu, Luchenza and Bangula was identified through a three-year rigorous analysis by technocrats from both state and non-state actors to bring about development, wealth and better quality of life to citizens in these cities and even beyond,” narrated Chinsinga.

He said MSCP augers well within the decentralisation policy reforms that embrace the entrenchment of a democratic developmental local government system in Malawi.

Chinsinga further stated that the thrust of the reformed cities, which contribute significantly to the overall GDP of the country, remains the creation of transformational urban centres into enclaves for sustainable economic growth and wealth creation.

“To this end, the intention is to create cities that should serve as economic hubs for socio-economic prosperity, adopt requisite technology for growth and lastly cities that should adopt a culture of learning,” he said.

Speaking earlier, the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Sam Dalitso Kawale, assured the participants that his ministry will identify land for the developments under the plan.

Kawale added that the ministry is committed to providing masterplans that are modern, futuristic and attractive to investors, both local and international.

“Your ministry will ensure that we uphold high standards development in these cities. This is the time that, as a country, we eliminate slums but have cities that are clean and orderly. This is a the time that, as a country, we can have cities that create employment,” he said.

He added, “Malawians should be assured that there will be strong adherence to agreed masterplans and urbanisation regulations. No one will be allowed to build structures that will not be in conformity with our designs. Enforcement will be emphasized.”

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