Zambia’s Ministry of Housing and infrastructure, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Zambia Institute of Architects (ZIA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MOU creates a framework for co-operation in built environment policy and includes town planning, urban design policy, education, professional standards and building technology.

Zambia UK sign MoU to promote the built environmen.jpg

Under the MoU, the parties will encourage the exchange of training courses, expert visits and scientific research in the fields of build environment, urban sustainability policy, building regulations and associated standards development, professional standards development and entrepreneurship including development and management of Smart Cities. Other areas will include architecture studies and competitions, student exchange programmes, continuing professional development and capacity building in the field of urban planning, conservation of architectural heritage, policies relating to community engagement, building technologies and building information modelling (BIM).

Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Muyeba Chikonde, said even though the MoU covers broad areas of architecture, the built environment and urban development policy, nothing stops the parties from pursuing other projects such as the development of production capacity by local entrepreneurs in local building materials; promotion of good building practices and  use of indigenous building materials; the development of building codes and standards for locally manufactured building materials to make them more competitive on the regional and international markets; and strengthening capacities of local authorities  to develop and implement sustainable master plans and to formulate appropriate national human settlement policies that address today’s changing world.  

The High Commissioner, who is an architect by profession and a member of the Institute, said the ZIA and allied professions such as engineers, surveyors and planners need to be strengthened so that they contribute meaningfully to the country’s development. “Architects should make themselves relevant to society as there is much more beyond the provision of traditional services of building design and supervision. We need to start having difficult conversations amongst ourselves as to why architectural or engineering services are not being utilised by the majority of our people; why some settlements are mushrooming without due consideration to support services; why our cities and towns continue to be unfriendly to pedestrians, cyclists and persons with mobility challenges; why with the abundance of raw materials and technical knowledge our local building materials industry has remained inadequately exploited and underdeveloped,” he said.

“We need to step up by getting involved in providing home-grown innovative, realistic, practical human settlements solutions to our citizens and through advocacy and constant engagement with government and all stakeholders, thus the reason for including in the agreement the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development.”

He added that Zambia’s government was concerned with its infrastructure deficit, with the President having expressed the urgent need to address developmental inequalities. “What we are witnessing today is an endeavour to create a platform for addressing these challenges through transfer of skills, experiences and best practices mutually among three parties; two professional bodies, RIBA and ZIA and a government Ministry responsible for Housing and infrastructure which in practical sense is a Public-Private-Partnership arrangement,” the High Commisioner said.

Image credit: https://www.lusakatimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/MoU-1.jpg



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