Uhuru calls for public-private-partnerships in tackling urban challenges at UNHabitat meet

President Uhuru Kenyatta has called for use of innovative and creative solutions such as public-private-partnerships to solve Kenyan problems and create sustainable communities that yield benefits for all.

President Kenyatta called on all stakeholders to “recognise the importance of the urban agenda, the importance of being able to have sustainable communities for our children and our children’s children and recognise that we can’t do this alone.”

Kenyatta spoke on Wednesday at a high-level panel featuring Heads of State and Government South Sudan, Fiji and Yemen, that discussed urbanisation, the involvement of the private sector and working with partners during the first UN-Habitat Assembly in Nairobi.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, his South Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir, Yemen Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, his Fiji counterpart Josai Vorege Bainimarama, and UNHabitat boss Maimunah Sharif PHOTO: UNHabitat

The discussion presidents Kenyatta, Salva Kiir (South Sudan), prime minister Josai Vorege Bainimarama (Fiji) and Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed (Yemen) as well as the Executive Director of UNHabitat and the President of the UN-Habitat Assembly Maimunah Sharif.

The panel also focused on the theme of the Assembly – innovation for quality of life in cities and communities.

President Kiir said the problems his country’s urban areas such as poor infrastructure, unemployment and insecurity were all bottlenecks to national development.

He said that efforts to tackle the challenges should include interventions to provide jobs and income generation opportunities for citizens.

Prime Minister Saeed said the conflict in his country had created an “extraordinary demographic change” within towns and cities, as residents fled from conflict areas.

“When it comes to urban planning and housing, we need hundreds of thousands of units in certain areas. So, we are striving for, and relying on the private sector to produce these,” he said.

PM Bainimarama called for global action to address what he called the “unprecedented scale of threat” from climate change. “We are innovating every day to protect our people from the climate crisis because it will be a world catastrophe,” he said.

Sharif, said cities would have to continue to drive innovation in ground-breaking ways to achieve a lasting impact in communities and to ensure that no one is left behind.


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