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Malawi Is Fastest Urbanizing Country In The World

Malawi Is Fastest Urbanizing Country In The World, UN Says

Malawi's rate of urbanization is the fastest in the world and the landlocked southern African country will need heavy investment in its harsh rural areas to stop the rapid migration to towns, the United Nations settlements agency said today.

Even though the country is agriculture-dependent, by 2015 about 44 per cent of the projected 11 million population will live in urban centres. Three-quarters of urban Malawians now live in the major cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba, the UN Human Settlements Programme UN-Habitat) said.

In the capital, Blantyre, 71 per cent of residents live in squalid unplanned settlements, according to the agency.

"The influx of people from rural areas to urban centres is directly linked to the increasingly harsh conditions many families are experiencing in the outlying areas of the country," UN-Habitat said.

Villagers in rural Malawi have been severely affected by drought and resulting food shortages in recent years, according to the World Bank.

Meanwhile, a 1996 World Bank report, "Liveable Cities for the 21st Century," says some cities have developed simple, affordable solutions to the problems of furnishing basic services. They have been able to provide clean water within a short walking distance of homes, simple sanitation, passable roadways and drainage.

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