German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder today pledged to increase his country's support for UN-HABITAT threefold to 500,000 euros for core funding to the agency over and above German support for specific project programmes.Mr. Schroeder, on his first official visit to Africa, made the pledge during a meeting with UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka and other senior officials at the United Nations office in Nairobi.
Mrs. Tibaijuka, who thanked him for Germany’s continued support, highlighted the challenges of urban poverty in a rapidly urbanising world, especially in Africa’s growing slums. She also explained the agency’s coordinating role in helping governments achieve the Millennium Development Goals of significantly improving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers by 2020, and of halving the number of people who lack access to safe water and sanitation by 2015. As an example of the operational projects that UN-HABITAT is involved with in Africa, Mrs. Tibaijuka described upgrading programme currently underway in the Nairobi slum of Kibera, which is the largest in Africa. She said it would improve the lives of Kibera residents and appealed for Germany's support.
Chancellor Schroeder, who was visiting Nairobi from Ethiopia on the second leg of a four-nation tour focusing on aid, trade and security that will also include South Africa and Ghana, also said that there would be further commitments to projects to help overcome the challenge of rapid urbanisation, particularly in Africa.
He told a news conference that Berlin was more than committed to helping resolve Africa’s problems, including its rapid urbanisation, both through UN-HABITAT and bilaterally.
German officials accompanying him said the four countries had been selected because they constituted “anchors of stability” in Africa, and because their recent political history exemplified peaceful democratic transition.