Minister Calls for Collective Efforts in Promoting Sustainable Urbanization as Half of Malawi’s Urban Population Will Live in Urban Areas by 2050

Oct 4, 2016

The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Honourable Atupele Muluzi has called for collective effort to manage urbanization in Malawi which rising faster than the pace of urban services and infrastructure development.

The Minister told a cross section of representatives from the private sector, government departments, media, city councils and civil society at the Habitat III Urban Breakfast in Lilongwe which was organized by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development with support from UN-Habitat and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Urban Breakfast was held under the theme; Financing Urban Development in the Context of the New Urban Agenda.

The Minister said Malawi needs to ensure that urban centers are well planned and well managed whilst taking full advantage of the benefits of globalization, innovation and technological advances.

“At the current rate and pace of urbanization, Malawi is well positioned to plan ahead in order to maximize the benefits of urban agglomeration, whilst addressing the congestion effects,” said Hon Muluzi stressing the need to collectively build the capacity for urban development financing. 

The Minister noted that there are projections that by 2030, 30% of the population of Malawi will be urban based, which will rise to 50% by the year 2050. 

“This increasing population concentration in our cities, has posed massive sustainability challenges in terms of housing, infrastructure, basic services, food security, health, education, jobs, safety, and pressure on natural resources, among others,” said Hon. Muluzi.

The Regional and Interagency Coordinator for Habitat III, Mr. Roi Chiti said the New Urban Agenda reaffirms the global commitment to sustainable urban development as a critical step for realizing sustainable development in an integrated and coordinated manner at global, regional, national, sub-national, and local levels, with the participation of all relevant actors.  

“The new urban agenda focuses on universality. We must leave no one behind and see how we can use urbanization as source of development,” said Mr. Chiti.

On her part, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Malawi, Ms. Mia Seppo said the Urban Breakfast and Malawi’s engagement with the Habitat III processes have come at an opportune moment when a national Urban Policy is being developed and in the near future, the national medium term development strategy will also be elaborated.

“Malawi cannot chart a way to 2030 without planning for and managing urbanization. This is why the recent passing of the Land related laws is important for Malawi’s future urbanization,” said Ms. Seppo adding that the National Urban policy will guide Malawi’s sustainable urbanization path for the next 20 years.

Mayor for the City of Blantyre Councilor Noel Chalamanda whose city has laid out a development plan to transform the city which is now home to about one million residents, urged participants to think creatively. He called for new ways of supporting and sustaining urban development without overreliance on funding from the central government which, he said, is also facing a number of challenges.

On the private sector support to urban development efforts, the Chief Executive of the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI), Chancellor Kaferapanjira said the private sector is a ready partner in supporting the urban development agenda. He however called on government to stimulate private sector contributions.

New Urban Agenda is set to be adopted in Quito, Ecuador this month contributes to the implementation and localization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including SDG 11 of making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.