The newly appointed Ambassador of the Republic of the Sudan to Kenya, Mr. Kamal Ismail Saeed, on Thursday presented his credentials as Permanent Representative to UN-HABITAT's Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos.
The Ambassador briefed Dr. Clos on the socio-economic situation in Sudan and efforts Sudan is making to attract foreign investment and develop new productive sectors with very good potential for exports from the country. He said Sudan was making advances in basic services provision, explaining that electricity, for example, was now reaching most parts of the country. He said the country was confronted with a "brain drain" by people seeking better opportunities elsewhere, and migrations to the south.
Dr. Clos cited the great importance and complexity of UN-HABITAT's programmes in mainly concentrated in Khartoum, Juba and Darfur. He praised the efforts of the Sudanese Government in advancing from an extractive economy to a process of productive industrialization and referred to challenges posed to the development of African cities undergoing rapid urbanization due to increasing migrations to urban areas.
UN-HABITAT has worked with the Sudanese Government in the housing and urban planning in Khartoum since 2006. In the southern city of Juba, the agency's work has focused mainly on land policies and slum upgrading. In Darfur, UN-HABITAT has conducted urban planning, capacity building and land work.
The Ambassador cited high cost of housing prices – a matter Dr. Clos explained could be redressed by better urban planning. Where there was a lack of economic activity in an area, the financing of basic services increased to the point where they could be unaffordable, Dr. Close said.
The Executive Director and the Ambassador agreed to consider sending a team of experts to Khartoum to assess urban planning needs.