Urban Development in Kenya: Towards Inclusive Cities

Anne Bousquet, “Urban Development in Kenya: Towards Inclusive Cities”, Mambo! Volume  VII, n° 10; 2008.

With an urban growth of 4% and an urban population of more than 30% (Vision 2030), one out of every two Kenyans will live in urban areas before 2030 (and probably by 2015). As urbanization is inevitable, the main challenge is how to cope with rapid urban growth and how to prepare for the future. Inclusive development is a major condition of sustainable cities. What are the main urban challenges Kenya faces? Are Kenyan urbanization trends leading to inclusive  cities?

Urban challenges in Kenya

Urban growth challenging service  delivery

In terms of urbanization patterns, Nairobi continues to be the major city while other big towns remain attractive for rural migrants. However, small and secondary towns (20 to 200 000 inhabitants) are now growing faster. An important factor in the growth of small and secondary towns is the extension of big cities’ metropolitan areas. They can no longer be neglected by  Development programmesBalanced  urbanization  will also require Provincial capitals to play a role as regional hubs. Therefore, their capacities urgently need to be strengthened.

Urban growth, combined with urban sprawl, has overwhelmed the capacity of local authorities to provide the population with adequate urban facilities. Only around 30% of urban dwellers have access to a private water connection and the rest rely on public standpipes or other sources. Sanitation lags further behind, with 44% of the facilities being pit latrines. Garbage collection is another challenge, with a general lack of waste disposal and treatment facilities.

Housing and informal  settlements

Poverty and lack of planning have led to the mushrooming of slums in urban and peri-urban areas. 50% of the urban population (7 million) is assumed to live in slums, representing 3.5 million people. By 2030, the urban population will reach 30 million (with an assumed urban rate of 50%). If nothing is done regarding the slums, the population living in the informal settlements will then be about 15 million.

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Meanwhile, urban dwellers suffer from a lack of appropriate transport, the dilapidation of environment and a shortage of  affordable housing. Many of the Kenyan Government’s and partners’ attempts to address the housing issue have failed: low-cost housing has been largely diverted from its originally targeted beneficiaries by people with political contacts or economic power. Only 23% of the general demand is addressed by formal settlements and only 2% of formal  housing  supply is of  benefit to poor urban dwellers.

Land rights

Land rights are also underlying issues and an impediment in many fields of urban development; such as slum upgrading, provision of affordable housing, or simply extension of water and sanitation networks. All of these works require public land or adequate land legislation. For decades, public land has been grabbed, which has rendered the already sensitive issue of regulation and access to land inherited from the past more complex.

Economy

Urban settlements are now widely recognized as boosters of economic growth: in Kenya, they represent two thirds of the National Gross Product, and nearly half is based in Nairobi alone. However, urban  productivity is notably constrained by the lack of adequate facilities and infrastructure.

Poverty and urban fragmentation

Census and studies show that the decrease of poverty (-6% from 1997 to 2005) has mostly benefited  urban Picture2settlements rather than rural localities. Yet, socio-economic inequalities remain striking in most Kenyan cities. Nairobi concentrates more than 20% of all Kenyan households in extreme poverty. Cities are thus threatened by socio-economic segregation, worsening an already highly fragmented urbanization pattern. Slums and rich gated-communities are the two faces of cities which encounter temptations of administrative secessions.

Urban poverty is notably linked to under employment: the thriving informal sector has created most urban jobs since the public sector and the formal sector are no longer recruiting from the labour market on any grand scale. Unfortunately, these available jobs simply allow many informal workers to merely subsist.

Thus far, urban development has often been addressed through fragmented sector approaches, according  to  the   mandates of different ministries and stakeholders, with a lack of an integrated planning and of a strategic vision for urban development.

Recent evolutions in institutional framework and major initiatives

Over the past few years, Kenya has taken part in many interesting initiatives and urbanization has progressively become a top development priority. As opposed to a previous period of disinterest, Kenyan cities are now carefully considered by Kenyan stakeholders and international development partners. In general, multiplication of non-institutional stakeholders involved in various sectors of urban development is also renewing urban governance. Participation of non- governmental and community-based organizations, resident associations or other stakeholders enables comprehensive bottom-up approaches and innovative public- private partnerships. This is particularly visible in the private sector or urban facilities, where small-scale independent providers and  groups of residents work to fill in the gaps left by the public authorities.

Attempts have been made to clarify the respective roles and responsibilities of the different ministries involved in urban development. This has progressively led to designing a new institutional framework. Reforms include a new National Land Policy and a new Local Government Act (not yet passed). The latter notably aims at enhancing the power of local authorities and has been preceded by ongoing devolution processes, namely LATF and LASDAP.

The participatory approach of LASDAP introduces promising changes in the urban governance framework. It empowers grass-roots communities and other urban development stakeholders, as well as reinforces         local authorities’ accountability. These developments should not be challenged by potential overlaps with other devolution funds (like CDF) and by mismanagement.

The Ministry of Local Government champions the design of new urban development policies which aim at incorporating all stakeholders’ expectations for Kenya’s urban future.

Vision 2030 and its component for the Nairobi Metropolitan Area seek to take up the challenge. The latter is accompanied by the creation of the Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development.

The Ministry of Housing came up with The Housing Bill 2007 and the Strategic Plan 2006-2011. They focus on shortage of affordable housing and slum upgrading, with an ambitious objective of 150,000 housing units a year. The Bill also provides for creation of the Kenya Housing Authority which is meant to have a leading role in the sector.

Why organize a seminar on urban development in Kenya?

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In conclusion, renewal of institutional and governance framework for urban development in Kenya offers historical opportunities to gather strengths and commitments towards sustainable and inclusive Kenyan cities. Since January 2008, the   French

Development Agency (AFD), in collaboration with the French Institute for Research in Africa – Nairobi (IFRA), has initiated thinking on urban dynamics in Kenya. The project objective is to review AFD country strategy in support to the urban sector. As a member of the Urban Sector Donors Coordination Group, AFD now proposes to gather a large group of stakeholders to exchange views, identify high-priority urban challenges, and initiate constructive synergies with the Government of Kenya.

The Ministry of Local Government, the Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development and the Ministry of Housing (through KENSUP), as well as various donors, local authorities, private stakeholders, non-governmental and community-based organizations have been invited to give presentations and encourage  debate. What are the visions for the future of Kenyan cities? What is and could be the role of Local Authorities in terms of urban development? What are the major changes regarding governance framework? Are Kenyan cities inclusive cities? These are some of the important questions we invite you to discuss.

Picture4Download the document in PDF

Seminar programme included in the following pages

Monday, 24th  November 2008

1. OPENING SPEECHES

Opening of the seminar, introduction, welcome of the participants

The new national urban policy designing process :            

  • MINISTRY of LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Hon. Musalia MUDAVADI, Deputy Prime Minister Minister of Local Government

The Nairobi Metropolitan Growth Strategy and the role of the new Ministry

  • MINISTRY of NAIROBI METROPOLITAN DEVELOPMENT

Hon. Mutula KILONZO, Minister of Nairobi Metropolitan

Opening speech:

  • UN-HABITAT- UN HUMAN SETTLEMENTS PROGRAMME

Inga BJORK-KLEVBY, Deputy Executive Director

Opening speech :                                                                       

  • FRENCH EMBASSY.

H.E Elisabeth BARBIER

Tea/Coffee Break / Press Conference 

2. VISIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF KENYAN STRATEGIC PLANNING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

What is an inclusive/sustainable city?                                   

  • UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI

Dr Samuel OWUOR, Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography

Urban Development, opportunities and challengesUN-Habitat programs in Kenya

  • UNITED NATIONS – HABITAT

Daniel BIAU, Director Regional and Technical Cooperation Division

Environmental stakes in third world cities, carbon-friendly urbanization

  • UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM

Henry NDEDE, Programme Officer, Nairobi River Basin Program Regional Office for Africa

Nairobi City Council in the Nairobi Metropolitan Growth Strategy

  • NAIROBI CITY COUNCIL

Peter. M. KIBINDA, Director City Planning

DEBATE 1. Are Kenyan cities inclusive cities?

3. LOCAL AUTHORITIES : MAJOR STAKEHOLDERS IN URBAN DEVELOPMENT

Devolution process in Kenya : strengthening performances of local government

  • MINISTRY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT & SUPPORT OF EUROPEAN COMMISSION

John K. WAITHAKA, Programme Coordinator, Rural Poverty Reduction and Local Government Support Programme

Assessment of LATF and LASDAP activities: the point of view of Local Authorities

  • KISUMU CITY COUNCIL/ ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES OF KENYA

Samuel O. OKELLO, H. W. the Mayor of Kisumu City

Hamisi MBOGA, Secretary-General ALGAK

AFD experiences in terms of supporting urban local authorities in Africa: Presentation of AFD urban activities in Kenya                  

  • FRENCH AGENCY FOR DEVELOPMENT

Frédéric AUDRAS, Project Manager, AFD Paris

Jean Pierre MARCELLI, Head of AFD Kenya

DEBATE 2. Kenyan local authorities’ role in urban development

Tuesday, 25th November 2008

4. TOWARDS INCLUSIVENESS : CONSULTATION AND PARTICIPATION

Welcome of the participants

Urban development in Kenya : institutional framework and stakeholders

  • UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI

Prof. Winnie MITULLAH, Institute of Development Studies

A perspective on the Land Reform Project in Kenya        

  • SWEDISH INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

Annika NORDIN JAYAWARDENA, Counsellor Head of Development Co-operation

The place of resident associations in urban planning, management and governance

  • KENYA ALLIANCE OF RESIDENT ASSOCIATIONS

Henry OCHIENG, Program Officer

Tea/Coffee Break

Public-private partnerships and 24hrs Nairobi City Vision

  • NAIROBI CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT ASSOCIATION

Wafula NABUTOLA, Director

DEBATE 3. What about participatory planning in Kenyan urban development processes? 

5. TOWARDS THE INCLUSIVE CITY : EQUITY AND MOBILITIES,

NUTRANS. Nairobi Urban Transport Master Plan        

  • KENYA INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS

Dr. Eric ALIGULA, Senior Analyst

Transport Master Plan for Greater Casablanca, Morocco

  • EGIS – BUREAU CENTRAL d’ETUDES pour les EQUIPEMENTS d’OUTRE MER

Ion BESTELIU, Town Planner

DISCUSSIONS

Water Supply to the Urban Poor in Nairobi                       

  • ATHI WATER SERVICE BOARD & NAIROBI CITY WATER SERVICES

John M. MUIRURI, Chief Manager

Eng. N.M. MUGUNA, Informal Settlement Officer

Serving the Poor: a Tale of Three Cities, Living Conditions and Poverty in the Slums of Nairobi, Dakar, Johannesburg.

  • WORLD BANK

Sumila GULYANI, Sector Leader

An overview on the Kenya Slum Upgrading Program 

  • MINISTRY OF HOUSING

Leah MURAGURI, Head of Kenya Slum Upgrading Program

DISCUSSIONS

Recap of discussions, main lessons learnt from the seminar

Conclusion, acknowledgement, wrap up speech


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