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The Urgency of Sustainable Urban Development in Nigeria

In order to remove the inhibitions and obstacles to the supply of affordable housing units and to bridge the huge housing gap, Nigeria has recently embarked on developing a sustainable National Housing Programme, that would form the bedrock for aggressively reducing the housing deficit in the country, says Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN.

The Federal Government has called for urgent global action on sustainable urban development as an imperative for a secure future for the growing world urban population at the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador.

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In a Country Statement read on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari at the global event, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, said such global action had become an increasingly urgent necessity if the 21st Century was to provide a secure and sustainable way of life for the growing global population.

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According to the Minister, critical features of the programme include; “Responsiveness to the needs of the end users based on surveys, affordability analysis and income differences; Responsiveness to cultural and climatic diversity; Responsiveness to local economic needs and focus on SMEs and cottage industries as drivers of building inputs like doors, windows, plumbing and electrical fittings; and Piloting and validating the concept by starting small with a N35 billion ($115million) to prove the concept.

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Fashola, told the gathering of world leaders, “The economic and health imperative to plan for people-centered societies and sustainable cities is no longer a luxury, but an increasingly urgent necessity if the 21stCentury is to provide a secure and sustainable way of life for the growing global population”.

“Urbanization can help to jump-start industrialization and manufacturing, which in turn can result in a host of other productive and economic development processes. The occurring rapid urbanization must, therefore, be exploited to unlock its economic potentials, and provide a solution for rapid transformation of our urban centres,” the Minister said.

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Noting that the country is currently one of the largest economies in Africa, blessed with significant natural and human resources, and with growing democratic institutions, the Minister added that as a mark of her commitment to the global urban development agenda, the country has endorsed the provisions of the New Urban Agenda with its strategic interventions to reverse identified urban lapses and ills.

According to him, the country’s priority interventions have included among others, increased investments in affordable housing, modern road infrastructure, highways, bridges and robust, efficient transport networks adding, “The National Housing and Urban Development Policies have been reviewed, with the incorporation of new development strategies for dealing with the pertinent issues of housing finance, climate change, resettlement, participatory governance, and better land management and administration”.

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