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sub-Sahara tops urban growth

afrol News, 19 March - With 4.6% annual growth rate, sub-Saharan Africa has undoubtedly topped urban growth rate in the world, a report by Habitat for Humanity Africa and the Middle East revealed.

Despite bringing greater economic benefits in the long term, urbanization poses an extreme challenge to shelter provision in the short and medium term, particularly in sub-Saharan African where urbanization has led to an increase in slums.

An estimated 72% of urban residents in the region live in poverty housing as compared to the existence small number of slums in North Africa and the Middle East.

The new report, "A Right to a Decent Home - Mapping Poverty Housing in Africa and Middle East Region" is the first of its kind to compile statistics, research and short case studies from a wide-range of recognized publications on general poverty, including those from Habitat for Humanity.

The research contains "many of the causes and effects of rural and urban poverty housing and their implications on emerging economies."

It proved that effects of inadequate housing are far-reaching, which was why financial hardship might force to choose between shelter and other basic needs such as clothing, food, and

"Inadequate housing also leads to poverty, socio-political marginalization, economic losses, environmental damage, and increased mortality," the report highlights.

The report also discovered that 40% of Africa’s slum residents live in life threatening
conditions characterised by illnesses, including pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diarrhoea. Slums also record high child mortality rates and HIV/AIDS.

"A Right to a Decent Home is a valuable resource for urban planners, policy makers, development organizations and aid agencies, shelter professionals, journalists interested in raising awareness about poverty housing and its effects, and others interested in the state of housing in Africa and the Middle East."

The UN Millennium Development Goals targets a common global poverty reduction strategy for all 189 UN member nations. This includes access to safe and decent housing, water and sanitation as well as a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2015.

Over the years, Habitat’s "work has demonstrated that building homes lays an essential foundation that will help a family break the cycle of poverty and transform their lives. It is a critical step towards achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals that seek to eradicate extreme poverty. This publication is intended to serve as a resource for those that share this common vision.”

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