Lusaka growth agreement timely

THE economic growth of any country is influenced by many dynamics, and key among them is planning for development of cities and towns. Urban development covers infrastructure for education, health, justice, solid waste, markets, street pavements, and protection of cultural heritage. These constructions usually form part of specific sector programmes, including capacity-building measures. Established cities must build, maintain, and upgrade extensive transport, power, water, and telecommunication networks to keep up with the demands of economic development and population growth.
This infrastructure is necessary for continued advancement of societies and improved living standards.
Being a developing nation, Zambia has been making efforts to plan for development of its urban areas chiefly because of the vast benefits the process has. We, as such, welcome the signing of an agreement between Zambia and Japan to kick-start the process of developing a comprehensive regional development plan for Lusaka city. The agreement was recently signed by Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Permanent Secretary for administration Maambo Haamaundu on behalf of Government. On the other hand, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) senior advisor – infrastructure management under the Department of Urban and Regional Development, Goto Tetsuji, signed for JICA.
This follows the submission of an application for technical cooperation for formulation of the regional development plan for Lusaka to the Japanese Embassy in Lusaka in August 2021 by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning. Going by Mr Haamaundu’s statement, a high-level delegation from JICA headquarters to undertake a detailed planning survey mission on formulation of the regional development plan arrived in Zambia about a fortnight ago. Since their arrival in Zambia, members of the delegation have been discussing with Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development officers, selected government institutions, and Lusaka City Council regarding the formulation of the regional development plan for Lusaka.
“These discussions have culminated into signing of minutes of the meeting witnessed by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Lusaka City Council, and JICA,” he said. The signing of the agreement for the Lusaka regional development plan is most welcome, especially that the city has experienced unprecedented growth in its population over the past couple of years. People from rural areas, including those in neighbouring districts like Chilanga, Kafue, Chibombo, and Chongwe, have been migrating to Lusaka to look for employment and various business opportunities. In fact, a latest report of the recently conducted census of population and housing indicates that the population growth rate in districts surrounding Lusaka city has significantly risen. The movement of people from these districts has put pressure on the city of Lusaka, whose development, therefore, needs to be properly planned for through partnerships like the one between Zambia and Japan. As the process of planning for development of Lusaka is underway, a number of factors should be considered.
Some of the influencing factors of urban innovation and development of any city are environmental quality, geographical location, and city scale from a natural perspective.
Others are economic level, industrial structure, industrial agglomeration, and technological innovation from an economic perspective. Planning for development of Lusaka city is necessary because it has numerous positive effects.
Some of such effects are creation of employment opportunities, technological and infrastructural advancements, improved transportation and communication, quality educational and medical facilities, and improved standards of living. We, therefore, urge all government officials involved in the process of planning for the development of Lusaka to put in their best.