10 January 2019, Nairobi, Kenya – UN-Habitat and Kenya’s County Government of Makueni have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to empower youth and women, improve planning, provide housing and basic services among other issues.

The MoU was signed by Professor Kivutha Kibwana, Governor of Makueni County and Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat after a year of discussions.

The MoU provides a framework to implement a four year programme worth USD 3.2 million focusing on youth and women’s empowerment, regional and urban planning and design, local economic development and own revenue enhancement, provision of housing and urban basic services, solid waste management and energy.

Speaking at the signing ceremony at UN-Habitat headquarters Professor Kibwana said: “We are excited to sign this MoU with UN-Habitat because it will help us achieve a better quality of life for the people of Makueni” He said they had identified seven focus areas and cited youth empowerment as a key priority.

“Youth are the biggest resource the county of Makueni as well as Kenya in general has and one that we would like to harness and empower going forward, he said.

The Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Ms Sharif, said that as the Agency was headquartered in Kenya it was working closely with the authorities.

“UN-Habitat has made a commitment to work closely with Government of Kenya especially on the Big 4 Agenda, particularly housing which is one of our key strengths. UN-Habitat is ready to work together with the County of Makueni and other Counties in Kenya for sustainable urban development,” she noted.

Mr. Naison Mangiza-Mutizwa, the Director UN-Habitat’s Regional Office for Africa noted that at national level, UN-Habitat is providing strategic policy advice to the Government especially on housing, and was supporting more than 10 counties to implement programmes and projects in a wide range of areas.

Ms. Nancy Sifa, First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of the Government of Kenya to UN-Habitat, expressed the hope that the seven priority areas identified in the MoU would go a long way towards improving the lives of the people of Makueni, the region and in Kenya.