Hon. Elvis Afriye-Ankah addressing the meeting in Accra pic © Ketor Kenneth
Cities participating in the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP) will benefit from a series of regional exchange forums seen as a concrete step towards the actualization of repeated requests for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to tap into each other's potential and experience.
At one such forum taking place in Accra, participants agreed that ACP countries will continue to learn from each other and address the future of their cities together.
"We consider this exchange forum an important step that will enable us move from programme formulation to further slum improvement. We are happy to know that there are ACP countries that consider Tanzania as a country that they can learn from, especially when it comes to land tenure, said Ms. Lucy Kimoi, Tanzania's Assistant Director with the Ministry for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development.
The on-going forum taking place from 19-24 September is being attended by Anglophone countries implementing the Second Phase of PSUP. The regional exchange platforms are meant to enable countries participating in PSUP share experiences and practices.
articipating countries are also provided with the opportunity to finalize their National Action plans, and benefit from each other's contribution. Ghana, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Ethiopia are in attendance. Francophone countries implementing Second Phase will benefit from a similar exchange scheduled to take place in Dakar Senegal, from 10-15 October 2011. During this Phase, participating countries develop concrete plans of action to address slum challenges, paving way for the implementation process.
Addressing the forum, Ghana's Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development Mr. Elvis Afriye pointed out that the sharing of experiences and practices will empower cities with ideas to implement what would have otherwise been deemed impossible. He identified Ga Mashie Slum Improvement Area in Accra, as an on-going slum up-grading project that is helping to inform policies and programmes in the country as well as African region.
The Head of the European Union Delegation in Ghana, Mr Kurt Cornelis highlighted PSUP as an innovative approach. "While the EU has been focusing on rural development, emerging population trends highlight the importance of focusing on urban development. Partnerships forged with the ACP secretariat and UN Habitat to up-grade slums through participatory approaches has further enabled the EU shift its focus from rural to urban areas,' he said.
In her remarks, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Coordinator Ms. Rudy Sandhu joined the Deputy Minister in highlighting Ga Mashie Slum Improvement Area as a working example in slum up-grading. She further encouraged countries to implement the Millennium Development Goals in an integrated manner.
In his opening remarks, the mayor of Accra Alfred Vanderpuije said: 'I welcome you to our beautiful city and would also like to request that you take advantage of your presence in Accra, to learn more about the implementation of poverty reduction and urban initiatives, following the 15 January 2010 designation of Accra as a Millennium City.'