Several thousand residents of an informal community on the outskirts of Ouagadougou on 12 October gathered to witness the signature of a plan of action to launch UN-HABITAT’s global campaigns on urban governance and secure tenure in Burkina Faso. The plan provides for spending amounting to US$600 million over the next seven years.
“This plan will serve as a guide for all action in the field of housing and urban development, and the Government will take the measures necessary to make it work,” Mr. Hippolyte Lingani, Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Housing, told the crowd gathered in a field adjoining their community, known as Secteur 27. He joined the Mayor of Ouagadougou, the Chairman of the Association of Mayors of Burkina Faso, representatives of the private sector, UN-HABITAT, civil society groups, and citizens who will benefit from the action plan to sign a formal declaration on a wall-sized sheet of paper.
The action plan includes proposals to provide security of tenure in Burkina Faso, particularly for the urban poor, and to strengthen the capacity of local governments to deal with issues of planning and urban upgrading. On the eve of the launch, it was debated by mayors and other stakeholders, and there appeared to be a good understanding of the challenges, as well as demonstrated commitment to move ahead. Although a number of speakers said the US$600 million over seven years appeared to be a lot of money, it in fact represents less than $10 per capita per year.
“This is an excellent start,” said Mr. Daniel Biau, the Deputy Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, who attended the launch. “Unlike many developing countries, the immense migration from rural areas into cities has not yet really begun in Burkina Faso. Given the commitment of the National Government and cities such as Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso, we are hoping the action plan can help avoid the massive problems which other countries have experienced.”
The Burkina Faso launch was also attended by Housing and Planning Ministers from Senegal, where the campaigns were launched earlier this year, Chad, and Niger, which announced plans to launch the campaigns.