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Ruto launches second Kenya Urban Support Programme

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The government is collaborating with county governments and international partners to enhance the development of the municipalities, towns and cities, President William Ruto has said.

The President said the government is committed to the expansion of essential infrastructure to serve rapidly growing urban populations, with the goal of decongesting Nairobi and other major towns.

He said the development focus will be on a comprehensive expansion of housing, water, energy, transport, sanitation and other infrastructure to drive sustainable and inclusive growth in urban areas.

He explained that this would create alternative settlements in smaller towns and municipalities, easing pressure on major towns.

“Kenya’s under-urbanisation presents an opportunity to establish a solid foundation for urban development, improving economic opportunities and living conditions for millions of our citizens,” he said.

President Ruto pointed out that urbanisation will spur rapid economic growth at the grassroots in line with the Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda.

“Well-managed urbanisation is integral to our economic development agenda, aligning with Vision 2030 and the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

Speaking during the launch of the Second Kenya Urban Support Programme (KUSP ll) at State House Nairobi on Tuesday, the President said urbanisation will curb land fragmentation.

“Towns and cities will give us an opportunity to remove the pressure on agricultural land by settling people in urban centres so that we can free agricultural land for food production,” he said.

Present were Cabinet Secretaries Alice Wahome (Lands, Housing and Urban Development), Kithure Kindiki (Interior) and Njuguna Ndung’u (National Treasury).

Others were Council of Governors chair Ann Waiguru, Governors Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi) and Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu), among others, and World Bank Country Director Keith Hansen.

President Ruto urged the various stakeholders to utilise the $350 million (KSh46.5 billion) funding responsibly and optimise it for maximum benefit.

He also asked county governments to allocate a greater portion of their own revenues to urban development initiatives.

The President said the National Government will  establish the National Urban Development Fund to anchor the urban development agenda in a sustainable framework.

Additionally, he said the government is implementing the affordable housing programme to complement the Kenya Urban Support Programme and other initiatives.

“The programme’s alignment with the affordable housing strategic pillar presents a unique opportunity to invest in urban infrastructure that supports affordable housing objectives and thus delivers wholistic, sustainable and inclusive urban development,” he said.

He said the government is also investing in county aggregation and industrial parks to create alternative centres for value addition, agro-processing and manufacturing.

Additionally, President Ruto said the government is also developing five new special economic zones out of Nairobi and Mombasa in towns like Sagana, Thika, Naivasha, Nakuru and Busia.

“We will continue to expand those facilities to make sure that we create real alternatives centres of growth,” he said.

Mr Ndung’u said the Second Kenya Urban Support Programme aims to support the gains of the first programme.

Mr Nyong’o, who also chairs the Urban Committee of the Council of Governors, emphasised the need for the country to give priority to the development of urban centres that are not only sustainable, but also inclusive, fostering employment opportunities for all.

Governor Waiguru advocated robust financing to support the country’s rapid urbanisation efforts.

Ms Waiguru said it was important that  Eldoret and Thika municipalities are being elevated to city status.

Governor Sakaja said there is need to plan for future urban centres to address infrastructure challenges, citing housing, drainage and street lighting.

Mr Hansen said the World Bank is committed to supporting Kenya to build a resilient green and inclusive urbanisation pathway.

“Together, we have the power to shape a brighter and more inclusive and prosperous future for all Kenyans,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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