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Dakar, 17 Oct 11

Mr. Thiery Cozier, the EC Head of Infrastructure Development in Senegal , addressing participants © UN-HABITAT/Murugi Maina

Thirty five participants drawn from various francophone countries from Africa recently gathered in Dakar Senegal to discuss slum upgrading issues.

The meeting which ran from 12-17 October 2011 drew participants from DRC Congo, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Niger. The exchange forum targeted francophone countries implementing phase two of the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP).

Launched in Accra Ghana in September 2011, the regional exchange forums enable participating countries to share ideas, practices and experiences that reinforce the slum improvement process. Participants attending the forum also benefited from each other's critical input as they refined country specific approaches, strategies and national action plans.

Leading civil servants, academicians, civil society leaders, private sector representatives and UN-HABITAT country focal points took part in the event. On-line dialogue and discussions will complement the face to face regional exchange forums.

Participants had different thoughts to share as regards the forum. "Listening to experiences from other countries has been enriching. Seeing how Dakar is using infrastructure and important aspects of slum improvement that include acess provision, access to piped water, drainage and basic sanitation has been an inspiration to my team," explained Mr. Jean Claude Mbwentchou the National Coordinator of the Urban Governance Programme in Cameroon.

On the other hand, Mr. Shita Lorenzo, an Advisor to the City and Provincial Development Authority in Kinshasa, DRC Congo viewed the slum improvement process from an incremental approach linking various sectors. He encouraged each local authority and country to play its part towards improving the slums in Africa.

Technical experts attending the forum also shared some key messages. "I encourage the different countries represented here today to intensify efforts aimed at improving and reducing slum formation. More than ever before, cities need to maximize technical, human and financial resources available at national and international level, as a means towards realizing tangible results', said Mr. Alioune Badiane the Acting Director of UN-HABITAT's Regional Technical Cooperation Division.

Participants also had the opportunity to interact with Mr. Thiery Cozier, the European Commission Head of Infrastructure Development in Senegal. Mr. Cozier shared a documentary of the slum improvement process in Pikine areas of Dakar. In addition, he provided insight into how countries can better refine their approaches in order to secure additional resources for country specific activities.
"The European Commission is also extending its support to the improvement of slum areas in Africa. The use of inclusive, participatory and transformative approaches have proven to have lasting and outstanding impact," he said.

PSUP is being implemented in 30 countries and 63 cities across Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific, with the target of halving the number of slum dwellers by 2020.The exchange programme will continually build on lessons learned at national and regional levels.

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