VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina says well-planned and serviced towns and cities can be engines of development for Zambia and can contribute more than 80 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
Speaking at the launch of the first-ever national urbanisation policy, Mrs Wina said Government is keen to ensuring there is sanity in human settlement through appropriate land administration and development planning strategies.
She said this is in a speech read for her by Minister in the Office of the Vice-President Sylvia Chalikosa.
She said the new urbanisation policy will help Government co-ordinate and rally various actors to establish a shared vision for desired urbanisation within 20 to 30 years.
Mrs Wina said the objective of the national urbanisation policy seeks to avoid future human-made and environmental disasters from unplanned rapid urban population and physical growth.
She said the policy also seeks to create jobs to lift people out of poverty by harnessing agglomeration advantages of concentrated economic activity.
“Although Zambia started urbanisation in the early 20th century, the country has never developed a comprehensive policy to guide human development, apart from the policy statements pronounced in the five-year national development plan,” she said.
Mrs Wina said unregulated urban growth in Zambia has resulted in mushrooming of informal settlements in peri urban areas which are prone to poor sanitation, crime, pollution, diseases, unemployment, poverty and other vices.
And speaking at the same function, Minister of Local Government and Housing Vincent Mwale said the preparation of the national urbanisation policy is being spearheaded by his ministry and UN Habitat for Humanity.
“The issue of urbanisation is high on the global agenda, hence the formulation of the national urbanisation policy which is important in the development processes in Zambia,” he said.