Abuja President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua of Nigeria warned African housing ministers that governments had to move beyond talking to action on the urgent task of delivering housing, utility services and pollution management.
He made the warning in remarks to 26 ministers and senior officials gathered in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, for the Second African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (AMCHUD II) at the end of July. The meeting is a new regional forum backed by UN-HABITAT to help governments deliver on Millennium Development Goals aimed at reducing global poverty. “Two out of every five urban residents in Africa today live in circumstances that are deemed life and health threatening,” he said in a speech delivered on his behalf. “Be it in South Africa, Egypt or here in Nigeria, our people are confronted with the daunting task of securing decent and affordable housing, clean water supplies, efficient waste and pollution management, employment and urban transportation.” It was therefore time, he said, for governments to move beyond talking to acting on measures, as the situation is getting more difficult each day. If left unaddressed, the present trends would result in the what he described as “the urbanization of poverty.”