The 2008 global celebrations of World Habitat Day will be held in the Angolan capital, Luanda. After more than 30 years of armed conflict, the country better known for land mines and guerrilla warfare is embracing a new era of peace and forging ahead with a comprehensive development plan.
Angola’s President, Mr. José Eduardo dos Santos, said that he hoped the global celebration of World Habitat Day would show how the living conditions of Angolans are being improved to achieve a lasting social, economic and environmental harmony for future generations.
The decision to take the global observance to Luanda this year was welcomed by Angola’s Minister of Urban Affairs and the Environment, Mr. Diekumpuna Sita José. He said the government's new five-year plan for 2009-2013 included new legislation on land and urban planning so as to promote better housing delivery.
He said the Government planned to build 1 million new homes over the next five years, with work set to start this year on the construction this year of 250,000 homes. He also said slum upgrading initiatives had started in several cities.
In recent years, over 3,000 kilometers of primary and secondary roads have been built or renovated. This includes improvements to Luanda's own roads and inter-city connections. He said that this improvement in the communication infrastructure would spur development throughout the country. There are also government plans to build or repair some 1,500 bridges, and a further 12,000 km of the national road network by 2012.
Under cooperation agreements with several governments, and mobilization of domestic resources, the oil-rich country is addressing important urban challenges. These include a significant deficit in the housing sector and lack of water and sanitation in parts of the capital Luanda and in several provincial cities. Angola’s five-year strategic plan also provides for new schools, and hospitals.