Forum urges fiscal decentralisation to address unplanned settlements, as housing deficit hits 1.5 million


Grace Chikumo-Mtonga, of the Civic Forum on Housing and Habitat Zambia (CFHH), has called for fiscal decentralisation to address the rampant issue of unplanned settlements in urban areas.

Chikumo-Mtonga noted that government typically allocates only about one percent towards housing and town planning, which she described as a “drop in the ocean.”

She stated the need for adequate funding in these areas during the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) sponsored Kitwe Urban Development Forum at Kitwe’s Sherborne Hotel on Wednesday.

“The country is grappling with a housing deficit of about 1.5 million, which calls for measures to bridge the gap,” Chikumo-Mtonga stated, revealing that Zambia needs to build 223,000 housing units per year to meet demand.

She expressed disappointment that 70 percent of the urban population lives in unplanned settlements, making it difficult to provide social amenities.
Program Manager Vince Chipatuka observed that informal settlements continue to affect service delivery and noted that FES will keep promoting discourse around the issue.

Read More: Finance Minister, Musokotwana, calls for less stringent mortgage products as housing deficits reach 1.5 units

“The world faces one billion people living in informal settlements, and by 2030 this number is expected to grow to three billion. This is why we are promoting the Just City inclusive settlement in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 11,” Chipatuka said.

Kitwe Deputy Mayor, Alexander Mwango, disclosed that Kitwe, like other councils in Zambia, continues to struggle with unplanned settlements.

“We have 27 unplanned settlements in Kitwe due to urban growth, which presents a challenge for us in providing basic amenities such as water and upgrading township roads,” Mwango stated.

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