The Minister of Lands, Housing and Rural Development Atupele Muluzi has said rapid urbanization is affecting the housing situation of people worldwide and Malawi in particular.
He made the remarks Friday in Lilongwe at a news conference on the 2016 World Habitat Day Commemoration.
“It is a known fact that access to adequate housing is a global challenge that is growing fast with urbanization,” said Muluzi.
He said in observing the day, Malawi and the international community would like to pay tribute to the efforts of thousands of people in Malawi and all over the world who are engaged in the task of producing one of the basic necessities of human life, shelter.
The Minister said housing is more than having a roof over one’s head, but it also means having access to security of tenure, access to water and electricity, access to roads infrastructure, access to health and education services among others.
This year, the Day is being commemorated under the theme “Housing at the Centre” which he said is aimed at raising awareness about the need for affordable housing for all in both urban and rural areas.
The United Nations (UN) General Assembly designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day to reflect on the state of cities and towns.
According to UN Habitat 2010, a billion new houses are needed by 2025 to accommodate 50 million new urban dwellers per year globally and the challenge in Malawi is no better at all, as about 21,000 new houses are required every year to accommodate increasing number of urban dwellers.
According to the UN Task Team on Habitat, the demand for housing grows as people are born in or move to urban centers in search of opportunities.
In view of the challenges, the Minister said the Government was committed to ensuring access to adequate housing for all as evidenced by the land related bills, revised Malawi Housing Act, the National Housing Policy and many more that are in place.
The 2016 WHD will be held on Monday, October 31 at Area 18b Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) Project and activities planned to mark the day include; a press conference, a panel discussion, drama and exhibitions among others.
WHD was established in 1985 by UN General Assembly and was first celebrated in 1986.