Thursday, July 16, 2009

DAr es Salaam - Out of 4 million residents 3.2 million live in slums


Using the term “slums” to describe the sorry state of Dar es Salaam unplanned and unserviced settlements might sound improper in political spheres, but not in the eyes of Dr. Badiane, the Director of UN-HABITAT for Africa and the Arab States.

Majority of Dar residents live in unplanned areas where houses are of low quality and are constructed haphazardly.

Basic services such as roads, drains, and water networks are missing, solid waste uncollected, and land for public amenities such as open spaces, schools and health centres is almost impossible to find.

Most people depend on poorly constructed pit latrines and open dumping of solid waste in open spaces. They live in houses that are not connected to piped water and electricity.

According to UN-HABITAT, life under these conditions is exactly what can be referred to as slum life.

Cities Alliance with technical assistance from UN-HABITAT, in collaboration with the Government of Tanzania has designed a citywide action plan for upgrading unplanned and unserviced settlements in Dar es Salaam by 2015.

The plan was validated by stakeholders who included government leaders and members of parliament meeting in Dodoma, after a workshop that took place in Dar es Salaam last week.

The process of preparing the citywide action plan took 3 years, with “all the stakeholders being involved to support the process and identify their areas of interest” according to Badiane.

Dar es Salaam covers a total area of 1,800 km2. Only 20% of this area is planned. According to a recent survey by Cities Alliance about 63% of Dar is unoccupied. Yet, over 80% of its residents live in unplanned settlements.

Only 30% of the population gets clean and safe water, and fewer than 30% are linked to the National Grid.

In simpler terms, out of the 4 million residents of Dar es Salaam, over 3.2 million live in unplanned areas!

The action plan has deliberated on various issues including land use standards to increase affordability, extension and improvement of residential licences, incremental generalisation of occupancy certificates, new land development with cost recovery and cross-subsidies, improved collection of property tax, water kiosks managed by communities, private toilets, waste management services through public-private partnerships, road improvement, the creation of housing departments in each municipality, a review of building standards, and the encouragement of small scale rental housing.

The plan also included a detailed time frame and mechanism to ensure that the activities are delivered within the agreed schedule, according to Badiane.

Its financial strategy outlined the required resources, sources and means of acquiring them, the total cost of upgrading the city being estimated at 1.4 Trillion/- apportioned to three terms; short, medium and long.

Financial possibilities considered included borrowing from banks, active engagement of local and international development partners, issuing municipal bonds, property tax and land rent.

In the validation meeting with members of parliament last weekend in Dodoma, it was stressed out that if properly planned and managed, land can be a major resource. Unlike the current situation; whereby, the major part of the country is unserviced and unplanned and therefore adding to the obstacle of income generation, particularly Tax collections.

The members of parliament also cautioned that implementation of the plan should not be left entirely to the Government. Instead, they insist that its success will mostly depend on outsourcing to the private sector as the Government does not have the needed capacity.


From Business Times

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