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193Urban Development and HousingINTRODUCTIONWith an urban growth rate that varies between 4 and 6% per year, Cameroon's rate of urbanization is now estimated at 48.8%, that is to say more than 8 million people who live in the cities. According to the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (GESP), the urbanisation rate will reach 57.3% in 2020.The rapid urban growth often occurs in lawless condi- tions, generally with a significant imbalance between supply and demand in urban infrastructures and ser- vices. Actually, during the past two decades, popu- lation growth in urban areas was addressed by the sprawl of anarchic construction in the outskirts of cities and the densification of sub-structured areas (slums) nearby town centres, areas which generally lack via- ble infrastructures and adequate basic social facili- ties. The phenomenon, combined with urban plan- ning deficit and lack of public investment in urban areas (particularly during the period of the economic crisis that hit Cameroon from 1985 to 1994) has considerably improved urban poverty.OVERCOMING FASTAND UNCONTROLLED URBANISATIONToday, more than 70% of urban dwellers live in areas lacking basic facilities and services, where they face unbearable precarious and insalubrious conditions,not to mention an increasingly generalized insecurity. The promotion of equity in the development of cities and reduction of urban divide is a real challenge for sustainable development. The Cameroonian govern- ment took several initiatives and measures to mitigate the problems arising from rapid and poorly controlled urbanisation, and fight this urban society crisis that is manifested through various forms of social struggles for the appropriation of the city.The concrete expression of this political will is revea- led through the decentralization of urban manage- ment and real transfer of competence to the mayors.Besides, the Cameroonian government has set herself for the coming years a few strategic main lines of intervention aiming at:• Better controlling the development of cities;• Reducing significantly the proportion of inde-cent housing in urban areas;• Improving intra-urban mobility;• Halving the proportion of the urban population without lasting access to drinking water, electri- city and ICTs;• Searching and implementing innovative finan- cing mechanisms for the development of housing, infrastructures and urban services.LES ATOUTS ECONOMIQUES DU CAMEROUN

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