Foreign Policy – September/October 2012
There is something viscerally repulsive about urban poverty: the stench of open sewers, the choking smoke of smoldering trash heaps, the pools of fetid drinking water filmed with the rainbow color of chemical spills. It makes poverty in the countryside seem almost Arcadian by comparison. The rural poor may lack nutrition, health care, education, and infrastructure; still, they do the backbreaking work of tending farms in settings that not only are more bucolic, but also represent the condition of most of humanity for most of history. With life so squalid in urban slums, why would anyone want to move there?
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You are cordially invited to read the following notes – but please accept: though reading the reflections is hopefully at times entertaining, the notes are not easy to comprehend, presenting thoughts as they are: interconnected, being a complex structure that cannot be easily deconstructed without doing damage to the overall existence. It had been the easy ways of looking at history that allowed the total demonisation of Zarathustra – in the postscript you will see the reasoning behind this reference. Having said this, you should allow the postscript to be a postscript, as I would otherwise made it myself a Prologue or a Prolegomena.
Looking once back, aiming on a huge leap forward – or: Luhmann’s Strawberry Cake
Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France.
When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel?
You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children. – Pablo Picasso
thisdailylive.com. September, 25, 2012. Good things may be in the offing in the housing sector if some of the signs we are witnessing are anything to go by. First of all, following several months of hard work, on the 14th of December 2011 the Federal Executive Council (FEC) officially adopted the revised National Housing and Urban Development Policies as official policies of the Federal Government. The new housing policy whose prime objective is to “ensure that all Nigerians own or have access to decent, safe and sanitary housing in healthy environment with infrastructural services at affordable cost, with secure tenure” dedicates a whole chapter to the social housing sector, specifying its target as those in the no-income, low-income and lower-mid-income groups – an upper limit that is defined as not exceeding 4 times the national minimum wage (presently N18,000) or, N72,000 per month.
But the adoption of the new policy is not all that is brewing in the housing sector. A separate bill, privately sponsored by Senator Benedict Ayade (Cross River North) ‘to provide a Social Housing Scheme in Nigeria…’ has gone through first and second readings and will, hopefully become law before the year runs out. The sponsorship of this bill deserves the commendation of all and sundry who yearn to see housing made affordable to ordinary people in this country. The proposed social housing scheme, whose main objectives include the significant improvement of the well-being of the poor & needy, will provide a window of opportunity for governments at all levels to demonstrate their commitment to the provision of housing as a social responsibility to the citizenry; it will also seek to unlock benefits to the economy in the realm of wealth creation and employment generation.
housingfinanceafrica.org October 2012. Following on from a very successful offering in October 2012, the University of Cape Town and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania are again offering a one week course on housing finance in Sub-Saharan Africa, from 7 – 12 October 2013, in Cape Town, South Africa. The programme will be held at UCT’s Graduate School of Business Breakwater Campus, located at the V&A Waterfront. Lectures will follow a structured lesson plan but will allow for open discussion between participants, presenters and discussion leaders. The course blends academic principles with practical, real-life applications. Case studies will be used where appropriate.
Teachers and presenters in the programme are recognised leaders in the housing and real estate field, and have experience in housing ifnance system development and transformation. Instructors are drawn from the Wharton School, UCT Department of Construction Economics and Management, and UCT Department of Finance and Tax, and FinMark Trust’s Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa. In addition, a number of highly qualified industry specialists will participate in the programme.
Download the course brochure for more information: http://www.housingfinanceafrica.org/housing-finance-programme-for-sub-saharan-africa-2013/
United Nations, New York – Worldwide, more than a billion people live in slums. As many as one million of them in the Kenyan slum of Kibera. Slum Survivors tells the stories of a few of them and charts their remarkable courage in the face of extreme poverty.