The government of Burundi this week achieved a milestone when it launched the national housing and urbanization policy.
The colourful ceremony held in Bujumbura was attended by senior regional government officials from Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda together with members of the donor community, civil society and private sector.
UN-HABITAT’s Director of the Regional Office for Africa and the Arab States, Mr. Alioune Badiane, while delivering a speech on behalf of the Executive Director, commended the timely formulation of a national housing and urban development policy framework.
“The National Housing and Urbanization Policy will assist the government of Burundi to set-up appropriate legal, financial and institutional framework and action plan for better urban planning, provision of adequate housing and access to land by the poor thus contributing to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals.”
He advised the government to set-up a follow-up mechanism and the establishment of the Burundian Urban Forum, FUB. He also recommended the creation a regional urban forum within the East African Community-EAC, to address the urban challenges at regional level and in a better-coordinated manner.
At the same time, Mr. Badiane informed the participants of the establishment of the Experimental Reimbursable Seeding Operations Trust Fund (ERSO Trust Fund) to assist least developed countries to address the improvement of slums and facilitate access to adequate shelter for the poor.
In a speech read on his behalf, President Pierre Nkurunziza expressed his appreciation for the excellent cooperation between his government and UN-HABITAT. The President reassured his government commitment to the implementation of the National Housing and Urbanization Policy.
The workshop came at an opportune time when the country is faced with rapid urban growth of 6.8 percent per year in an environment where land, basic infrastructures and services such as water and sanitation are scarce and the need to resettle IDPs and returnees together with the provision of affordable housing are the immediate priorities for the country. UN-HABITAT has been assisting the government of Burundi to formulate, review and validate a national housing and urban development policy.