The Case of Lusaka, Zambia


Lusaka is the capital city of Zambia, a country in the Central African Plateau with an average altitude of 1,000 to 1,400 m above sea level. Zambia is generally considered to be a Southern African country, because of its strong social and economic ties with the countries in the Southern African sub-continent rather than those in Central and Eastern Africa. Zambia lies between latitudes 100º and 180º south and 220º and 330º east. It is landlocked and shares borders with eight neighbouring countries. Zambia has a land area of 752,614 km and a population of just over 10 million (UNDP 2001).

This city report on slums and poverty in the city of Lusaka is divided into three main sections. The first section provides a physical, demographic and socio-economic background to the city. It also analyses the history, economy and governance of the city. The second part of the report analyses the slums found in the city and the welfare of the residents of the city in general and those of the slums in particular, and then goes on to examine the socio-economic characteristics and profiles of the residents of Lusaka’s slums. The third part of the report discusses the development of policy initiatives aimed at improving conditions in the Lusaka slum areas. Some conclusions presented at the end of the report focus on the prospects for improved environmental conditions in the slums and improved living conditions for the residents of the slums of Lusaka.

The paper draws on available secondary data and on the personal experience of the author arising from more than twelve years of active involvement in planning, promotion and evaluation of living conditions and projects and programmes designed to improve the environmental and socio-economic conditions of slums in Zambia. Although the concept of slums adopted by the United Nations 2003 Global Report on Human Settlements is broad and encompasses various settlement types ranging from inner-city deteriorated tenements to squatter and illegal sub-divisions, the settlements that may be described as slums in the Zambian context are identified or defined within this approach. Before identifying or defining urban settlements that might be described as slums in Zambia, however, a background or urban context is essential. The report therefore provides Zambia’s urban context, before analysing the history of Lusaka and the emergence of its slums.

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Publisher UN-HABITAT
Year 2003
Author(s) Mulenga CL
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