It is estimated that one quarter of the world’s urban population lives in informal settlements and these exist in nearly all regions and countries, including in highly developed countries.8 However, almost without exception, countries around the world have singularly failed to implement upgrading of informal settlements at scale.
With over 200 Million people in sub-Saharan Africa - 62% of Africa’s urban population - living in informal settlements, it has become necessary to prioritise the provision of infrastructure and tenure security for the urban poor. In Nairobi, it is estimated that over 60% of the population live in informal settlements with little or no infrastructure – both social and engineered infrastructure.
UN Habitat has previously defined informal settlements as residential areas where:
(i) Inhabitants have no security of tenure in the land or dwellings they inhabit, with modalities ranging from squatting to informal rental housing;
(ii) Neighbourhoods usually lack, or are cut off from, basic services and city infrastructure; and
(iii) Housing may not comply with current planning and building regulations and is often situated in geographically and environmentally hazardous areas.