Addis Ababa, 6 March 2018 (ECA) – “Considering the rapid growth of Zambia’s cities and the reliance of the country on them for economic productivity, there is no choice but to give them a high priority in national development planning”. These were the views of Mr. Crane Muleya, Director Public Investment Planning Department, Ministry of National Development Planning (Zambia), during the recently concluded national training workshop on ‘An Urban Lens in Development Planning: Integrating Urbanization in Zambia’s National Development Plans’, that was held from 26 to 28 February 2018, in Lusaka, Zambia.
Zambia’s urban areas despite accounting for less than 42% of the population, contribute to more than 80% of the country’s GDP. With urbanization proceeding at a swift pace in the country, profound opportunities are being presented for national level development as well as some significant challenges. One of the main tasks before policy makers is to start integrating urbanization into national development policy frameworks and processes in order to address challenges and capitalize on opportunities being presented. These issues were the focus of attention during the National Training Workshop on Urbanization and National Development Planning (26-28 February), organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa that that brought together key policymakers from different Ministries in Zambia
This workshop was organized under the auspices of the United Nations Development Account Project for ‘Strengthening member States’ capacities in designing and implementing strategies for inclusive and sustainable cities in Africa’. The national training workshop entailed senior planners who engaged in developing a National Action Plan for the integration of urbanization in Zambia’s national development plan. Towards this end, the training was based on a training tool developed by UNECA’s namely “Guidebook on integrating urbanization in national development planning”, which has been developed to strengthen member States’ knowledge and capacities in bringing to the fore the role of the cities into each stage of the planning process and in the process promote sustainable and productive cities for Africa’s transformation.
During the National Training Workshop, Ms. Semia Tapia on behalf of the Director of ECA’s Social Development Policy Division highlighted the work that UNECA has been doing to help member States better integrate urbanization in their national development plans and thus better harness this mega trend for Africa’s inclusive and sustainable development. She also emphasized the critical importance of urbanization for Zambia’s development in the years to come and advocated for its strategic alignment in the country’s national development plan. The workshop was closed by Mr. Crane Muleya, Director Public Investment Planning Department, Ministry of National Development Planning (Zambia), who appreciated greatly the contribution of the ECA as well as the dynamic contribution of the national participants. He affirmed Zambia’s commitment to giving a greater role to urbanization in national development planning and pledged to present the finalized action plan at a high level for its formal implementation and adaptation.
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