Mr. N’diaye, who is based in Addis Ababa,Ethiopia, was accompanied by the country’s Honorary Consul to Kenya, Dr. Barbara Magoha, and the First Secretary, Mr. Mamadou Diarra.
Briefing the envoy and his delegation on the activities of UN-HABITAT in Mali, the Executive Director noted that there is an excellent working relationship between UN-HABITAT and the Government of Mali. She stated that the Government of Mali has been regularly and actively participating in the UN-HABITAT’s activities, like the Governing Council and the World Urban Forum (WUF).
She noted that a 10-member delegation led by the Minister for Housing, Land and Urban Development of Mali, Mrs. Gakou Salamata Fofana, attended the Fourth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF4) held in Nanjing, China, from 3-6 November 2008.
Picture l-r: Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Mr. Amadou N’diaye, and Dr. Barbara Magoha.
She informed the delegation that during the African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (AMCHUD) held in Abuja, Nigeria, from 28-30 July 2008, Mrs. Fofana was also elected member of the Bureau of AMCHUD, representing the West Africa Region.
Mrs. Tibaijuka noted that in the past ten years UN-HABITAT, with funding from UNDP, supported the Government of Mali to formulate a national housing strategy in the areas housing delivery, access to land, housing finance, and promoting the use of local building materials. She stated that the support by UN-HABITAT resulted in a housing finance bank and a mortgage system for the country and also led to the promotion of public-private partnership for housing construction and production of service plots. Mrs. Tibaijuka stated that during the period the government and the private sector produced an average of 1,500 social houses annually throughout the country.
The Executive Director observed that in spite of the government efforts, access to adequate shelter and land remained a challenge in the country as informal settlements, which lack amenities, are mushrooming around the capital city, Bamako, and the secondary cities.
She stated that in an effort to prevent the formation of new informal settlements and improve the existing ones, the Government of Mali, in 2005, requested the support of UN-HABITAT to formulate a national programme for slum upgrading and reduction of informal settlements in the cities of Mali, under the “Cities of Mali without Slums” programme. She pointed out that this programme was launched on 6 October 2008 during the World Habitat Day celebration.
The Executive Director stated that the main objective of the project is to assist the Government, through the Ministry of Housing, Land and Urban Development and the National Association of Municipalities of Mali, to formulate a national programme on slum prevention and slum improvement. She said that a project coordinator had been nominated by the Government and that the recruitment of national experts and support staff was in the progress.
She stated that, together with other partners, UN-HABITAT will support the government of Mali to assess city conditions in three cities (Bamako, Kayes and Bandiagara) covering various sectors like urban governance, land, slums, shelter, gender, local economic development basic urban services and environment. The assessment will be used as the basis for the preparation of the Cities Without Slums programme for the country.
The Executive Director stated that Mali was also benefiting from the Water for African Cities programme of UN-HABITAT. She also informed the delegation that six Malian organizations are accredited to UN-HABITAT. The organizations work to improve the living conditions in rural areas and promote social and economic development by undertaking projects on health, education and agriculture and assists in solving the housing problems of the urban poor.
The Executive Director presented the delegation with some flagship publications of the organization, including the State of the World’s Cities 2008/2009, which focused on “Harmonious Cities”.
Responding, Mr. N’diaye gave the assurance that he would work hard to further improve the relationship between his country and UN-HABITAT.