Luanda, 7 April 2016 – UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira last week visited Angola where she held high level meetings with government officials aimed at strengthening the partnership between the agency and the African nation.
During the mission, the Deputy Executive Director held meetings with the Minister for Urban Development and Housing (the Agency’s line Ministry) Ms. Branca do Espírito Santo, who told Dr. Kacyira that "Angola needs UN-Habitat’s technical assistance to support in policy preparation and implementation regarding housing and urbanisation issues"
On his part the Minister for Territorial Administration Mr. Bornito Baltazar Diogo de Sousa showed openness to "collaborate with UN-Habitat on issues regarding decentralisation and capacity development of local authorities.”
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, assured the Deputy Executive Director that “Angola will be present in important events such as the Heads of States African Union Conference on Urbanisation to be held in Kigali, Rwanda, in July 2016 and the 3rd United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016"
Dr. Kacyira also met with the Deputy Ministers of Public Investments, Planning and Territorial Development, and Construction, as well as with the Governor of Luanda Mr. Higino Carneiro and the Mayor of Kilamba City Mr. Israel Marques.
In her busy mission, the DED also met the representative of the World Bank Ms. Clara Ana Coutinho de Souza and the United Nations Resident Coordinator Mr. Paolo Balladelli
Avenues for cooperation opened
As a result of these meetings, several avenues for future cooperation and UN-Habitat’s involvement in Angola were defined. Dr. Kacyira also gave a keynote speech in the opening of a workshop on climate change adaptive planning for Angolan coastal cities, which was jointly organised by UN-Habitat, the United Nations Development Programme, Development Workshop and Canada’s International Development Research Centre.
The visit aimed at strengthening the existing partnership with the Government of Angola, which, within the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in December 2009, has financially contributed to UN-Habitat in September 2014 with the initial aim to develop a National Urban Policy for the country.
After initiating the diagnostic preparation process, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) established its presence in Angola in October 2015 by hiring an International Technical Advisor and a small support team. In this context, the high-level visit constituted an opportunity for UN-Habitat to discuss further opportunities for cooperation with key partners on topics related to housing, sustainable urbanisation, territorial planning, urban resilience and climate change adaptation.
Angola, a country already 63% urbanised according to the 2014 official census, has placed the issues of housing and urban development high on its national agenda. In October 2008, on the occasion of the World Habitat Day, President José Eduardo dos Santos launched an ambitious programme to deliver one million dwellings in order to tackle the housing deficit caused by almost three decades of civil war.
Approximately half of this target has been achieved so far, and the Government is now planning to complete the programme providing technical support to self-help housing construction mechanisms.
“All meetings were very productive and I was glad to see how receptive the different partners were towards cooperating with our organisation. Overall, the added-value of UN-Habitat’s work in Angola to support the resolution of key challenges related to housing and urbanisation in Angola has been recognised”, the Dr. Kacyira said at the end of the visit.