President Uhuru Kenyatta has called for the sustainable development of intermediary cities across Africa, saying it has the potential to host the influx of people migrating from rural to urban areas.
The Head of State said this is a continental moment to face the rapid urbanization by putting up structures aimed at making them habitable.
“The choice of Kisumu to be the first intermediary city to host this conference is a clear manifestation that smaller cities have the capacity,” Mr Kenyatta said during the official opening of the 9th Edition of Africities Conference in Kisumu.
“My government has been steadfast in addressing housing shortages by building low-cost houses in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa and Nakuru.”
Further planning is necessary to surmount challenges of health, water supply, shelter, and infrastructure in the intermediary cities, he added.
The president further lauded the efforts that were deployed by smaller cities across the globe to fight the Covid-19 pandemic that has ravaged economies.
Speaking at the summit, head of the African Union Musa Faki called for the recognition of the roles played by intermediary cities and urban centers.
Mr Faki noted that too much attention has been given to Capital cities while ignoring the smaller ones.
The event is also being attended by Mr Raila Odinga, the AU high representative of infrastructure.
Other high-level dignitaries attending the summit are former President of the Republic of Seychelles Danny Faure and the President of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Africa.
Governors from Egypt Dr Manal Awad of Damietta, Abdelhamid Elhaggan of Al Qalyoubia and Ambassador Mohamed Higazy are also attending.
Local leaders, including Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, Environment CS Keriako Tobiko, Education CS George Magoha, and a host of local Members of Parliament, are present at the event.
The event, which has attracted over 8,000 delegates, will have over 200 registered exhibitors to showcase their services and products.
The summit’s theme this year is, “The role of intermediary cities in Africa in the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the African Union Agenda 2063.