By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri
The African Cities Research Consortium (ACRC) has vowed to tackle urban development challenges in Borno and other 11 Africa’s rapidly changing cities.
According to the Research Consortium, Maiduguri, the Borno state capital is one of the African cities in which ACRC engages communities, researchers, agencies, state actors and other stakeholders in urban transformation.
Unveiling the challenges of urbanization yesterday in Maiduguri at the ACRC stakeholders’ research uptake Workshop which took place at Duijma International Hotels, Babakura Bukar, the Research Uptake Lead, disclosed: “Young people face many challenges including lack of access to high-quality education, unemployment, drug abuse and exclusion from formal decision-making processes.”
The Media, Academia, Traditional Rulers, Religious Leaders, Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, Non- Governmental Organizations, NGOs among others attended the Workshop.
Bukar lamented that most of young people remain optimistic about graduating from school to gain decent employment opportunities but to no avail.
Besides, he added that despite several safety and security interventions in the last decade of Boko Haram atrocities, there are reported cases of periodic clashes among youth groups in some communities.
“There were mobile phone snatchings and burglary,” he said, forcing many residents in low-income areas to resort to locally mobilized self-defence.
The ACRC themed: “Tackling priority complex problems to unlock urban systems,” was to explore the positive transformation that leads to economic growth, improved well-being and inclusive development at all levels.
According to him, the inclusive development of cities comprises political settlement, land and connectivity, safety, as well as youth and capacity development in Borno state.
He noted that the Boko Haram insurgency has impacted the trajectories of the developmental pattern of Maiduguri city.
On the potential domains of the Research Consortium, he said that they included housing, informal settlement, health and well-being, youth capabilities and economic development.
“African city’s growth has been dependent on natural resources and, with urbanization without significant levels of structural transformation,” he said.
According to him, it has failed to lay the foundations for future prosperity in most of African countries.
Besides, he added: “Increasing growth has led to more opportunities and the potential to reduce poverty, but livelihoods remain difficult for low-income households in urban areas on commodity markets for their basic needs of life.
Bukar attributed the challenges of urban development to a lack of access to services, including portable water, sanitation and waste management and the impact of pollution from household and commercial activities.
“They have led to poor health in low-income neighbourhoods in the 12 rapidly changing cities in Africa,” he noted.
The Borno State Commissioner of Environment, Yerima Saleh, while declaring the ACRC Stakeholders’ meeting open, disclosed: “The problems we have in our society is the management and control of the population,” adding that this is related to discipline among the residents.
Continued; “When governments provide infrastructure like drainages, then the people dump refuse there and this creates environmental challenges.”
The Director of ACRC, Martins Atela, in a virtual presentation from Nairobi, Kenya, sought the support of the Federal and State governments in the implementation of research findings on Maiduguri city.
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