Mzuzu launches Slum upgrading but lacks funds

Cash strapped Mzuzu City Council has launched a UN-HABITAT backed participatory Slum upgrading programme that will cost US$11.5 million (MK1.8 billion) and is aimed at accelerating urban development and reducing poverty.

But for the programme to take off the ground it will need well wishers and other donor to foot part or the whole bill, otherwise it will remain a 50 page full colour brochure.

In Malawi, the Ministry of Local government and Rural development is coordinating the programme, which is also being implemented in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Zomba.

Slums in the city

The programme resolves to address the dominant urban issues including; Governance, Local Economic Development, Land, Gender and HIV/AIDS, Slums and Shelter, Basic Urban Services, Urban Safety and Waste Management.

Under the pilot phase, Salisbury Lines Slums in the heart of Mzuzu City will be upgraded to city standards and that will include the provision of basic infrastructure such as roads, clean water and other services.

The programme will then target other slums such as Ching’ambo, Mchengautuwa and Masasa.

Work will commence in 2012/13 depending on funds, according to the Council’s director of Planning and Estates Alexander Chirambo.

Launching the programme in Mzuzu on Wednesday, Chirambo said the programme will require concerted efforts for successful implementation.

“This is our baby and it is the first time that Mzuzu has gained international recognition since it became a city in 1985,” he said.

UN-HABITAT Executive director Doctor Joan Clos said in the foreword the challenges we face in the battle against urban poverty and our quest for cities without slams… is daunting.

“Our estimates confirm that the progress made on slum target has not been sufficient to counter the demographic expansion in the informal settlements in the developing world. In this sense efforts to reduce the numbers of slum dwellers are neither satisfactory nor adequate,” said Doctor Clos.

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