Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, attended the annual US Conference of Mayors in Chicago and called upon them to provide support to the Commission for Africa's conclusions and to join the Commissioners in calling on world leaders to act on the recommendations. She went on to emphasise to the assembled mayors from across the United States that the report highlighted the problems of rapid urbanisation in Africa, which was considered to be the second most important challenge facing Africa after the AIDS pandemic.
The mayors responded to her appeal by passing a resolution that called upon world leaders, including the US Administration and Congress, to give full consideration and support to the Commission's recommendations. The resolution will be forwarded to representatives of the G8 and European Union.
During her presentation, Mrs Tibaijuka pointed out that the report built on the leadership provided by the African Union and NEPAD. She showed the mayors a short film on the Commission's work and told them of the need for international action to end poverty, disease and conflict in Africa . Drawing on the film's scenes of poverty and poor sanitation in the slums of Nairobi , she referred in particular to the impact of chaotic urbanisation on the continent. She informed them that, because of a failure of agricultural policies and regional conflicts, Africa is urbanising faster than any other continent. The result of this ‘premature urbanisation' was that 70% of the urban population in Africa lived in slums and squatter settlements without adequate shelter or basic services. Furthermore, she pointed out that any further development of the continent required integrated rural and urban planning which included improving the capacity of local authorities to manage their cities and towns more efficiently.
Mrs. Tibaijuka concluded by calling upon the international community to provide the “enabling environment” for Africa 's successful development.
Click here to read the text of the resolution passed.