Local women,at George Compound, Lusaka, Zambia © Suzi Mutter
The Zambian government last week invited a broad range of experts, central and local government officials and community representatives to discuss new ways of dealing with the country's slum problems.
A Slum Upgrading and Prevention Dialogue was officially inaugurated by Mr. Bernard S. C Namachila, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Numeral Banda, the Assistant Director for Physical Planning in the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, reaffirmed government's commitment to promote dialogue when tackling slum issues. "Living in unplanned settlements is very difficult, and without support, it is impossible to improve one's life," he said.
Informal settlements in Zambia have been on the increase and are filling in the gap between the supply and demand for housing. For half a century, from the 1930s until the 1980s, industrial and commercial workers were provided housing. Change started to be seen in the 1980s when virtually all new housing was provided in informal and peri-urban settlements.
The new programme is being supported by the European Commission, the secretariat of the Brussels-based, Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP).