“As 2005, the year of Africa concludes successfully, it is important not only to celebrate the many achievements of the Commission for Africa, in highlighting the problems and possibilities of Africa, but also to remember that 2006 is the year of implementation of the recommendations put forward by the Commissioners,” said Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT and one of the Commissioners for Africa who advised Prime Minister Tony Blair on policies to improve the situation on the continent.Continuing her advocacy work, Mrs. Tibaijuka recently made presentations at the Africa All Party Parliamentary Group at Westminster, London, where she was welcomed by Hon. Hugh Bayley, MP. She also addressed a one day policy forum on ‘Africa after 2005’ organized jointly by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Development Studies Association.
In her presentations at these events, Mrs. Tibaijuka thanked Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, Sir Bob Geldof and all her fellow Commissioners for their efforts in bringing to the fore the plight of Africa’s poor. She welcomed the commitments made at Gleneagles, including debt cancellation and funding for the Immunization facility. She then called upon the delegates to ensure that these pledges and the other CFA recommendations would be followed through.
As a Commissioner, Mrs. Tibaijuka has been instrumental in getting the CFA to prioritize the problems facing African cities and towns. ‘Our Common Interest’, the CFA report, categorically states that, after the pandemic of HIV, urbanization is the second greatest challenge facing the continent. The report goes on to state that without better managed cities and towns, African economic development will not be possible. And with 72% of the urban populat Africa living in slums, slum upgrading is a priority. The report concludes by recommending the financing of a Slum Upgrading Facility, to the tune of $250 million per annum for five years, as part of the International Finance Facility.
Drawing upon her recent experience as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Zimbabwe, Mrs. Tibaijuka sounded the alarm by stating “If anyone has any reservations about the urgency of the urbanization of poverty in Africa, they need only look at the crisis in Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, Zimbabwe is the tip of the iceberg. If we do not address the problems of rapid urbanization, we may well be in for more mass evictions and human misery in African countries.” She concluded by urging the delegates to commit themselves to keep the candle of hope and progress burning for a new African dawn.