The United Republic of Tanzania says it was proud of the achievements made by UN-HABITAT in recent years especially under the leadership of Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka as the Executive Director.
The compliments were passed to Mrs. Tibaijuka by Tanzania’s new Permanent Representative to UN-HABITAT and the country’s High Commissioner to Kenya, H.E. Hamisi Amir Musmi, while presenting his credentials at the agency’s headquarters on Monday.
Musmi stated: “We appreciate your efforts and the gains UN-HABITAT has made since you took over the leadership of the organization. We are very proud of you.” Mrs. Tibaijuka is a Tanzanian national.
Receiving the credentials signed by the newly elected President Jakaya Kikwete, Mrs. Tibaijuka said she had been encouraged by the personal leadership and sense of urgency he has brought to the problems of housing and urban development in the country. Said Mrs. Tibaijuka "President Kikwete's inaugural speech identified the urbanization challenges facing Tanzania very clearly. UN-HABITAT has responded to his call, by promising to help further as requested within its mandate". Mrs. Tibaijuka presented the Permanent Representative with a clear response to the President's plan being discussed with relevant Government departments in Tanzania.
It includes concerns that Tanzania is still without a housing bank to provided mortgages for low-income families. It also pointed out some concerns with the current administrative arrangements for the City of Dar es Salaam that appear inadequate to deal with a settlement that is growing so rapidly that it now has 12% of the country’s population and generates about 25% of its GDP. She said if invited to do so, UN-HABITAT experts would be available to work with the government in search of a more appropriate solution, as they did with the City Commission established by former President Mkapa in 1996. "That cooperation worked well, but we feel that the gains made then are being eroded, as is indicated in the rapid growth of squatter settlements in the Msimbazi valley in Dar es Salaam" she pointed out. A Tanzanian national, Mrs. Tibaijuka said she could also speak in her personal capacity, as she is familiar with the situation.
Mrs. Tibaijuka added that UN-HABITAT depends on governments to enable it carry out its programmes. She expressed appreciation to the Tanzanian Government for its support to UH-HABITAT as it has consistently been paying its dues and hoped the arrival of the new envoy would make it possible for the country to increase its contributions. This is because for UN-HABITAT to efficiently carry out its task, it needed to be properly funded particularly in the area of voluntary assessed contribution.
The Executive Director outlined UN-HABITAT’s portfolio of projects in Tanzania including: Managing Water for African Cities, the Women Empowerment Project, Capacity Building for Local Governance, and the Safer Cities Programme for Dar es Salaam. Others are: the Cities Without Slums Arusha Initiative, the Sustainable Cities Programme, and the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Initiative.
She also took the opportunity to invite Mr. Musmi, whose country is a member of UN-HABITAT’s Governing Council, to the Third Session of the World Urban Forum to be held in Vancouver, Canada, from 19-23 June 2006.
Mr. Musmi, a retired Principal Judge of the High Court of Tanzania, thanked the Executive Director for the briefing and pledged Tanzania’s full commitment to the ideals of UN-HABITAT. “We renew our commitment to UN-HABITAT and are prepared to make our humble contributions,” he said.