United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by his wife Ban Soon-taek, arrived in Nairobi, Kenya from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Tuesday afternoon, 30 January. They immediately visited Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa.
He was escorted by UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director, Anna Tibaijuka, through a section of the crowded Kibera slum named Soweto East -- after the well-known township in South Africa -- and witnessed first-hand extreme urban poverty in Africa.
He told the inhabitants that he felt “very much humbled” by what he saw.
The Secretary-General said he would work towards improving living conditions, education, water and sanitation and housing, adding, “All these are challenges that we must overcome.”
“This is not the only place, I know. There are many other billions of people suffering from lack of affordable housing -- all the facilities which make our life decent,” he said. Referring to the Millennium Development Goals, he said that “we must work together and generate political will to have a smooth implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, and I will work very closely, and harder than before”.
On Wednesday morning, the Secretary-General met with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki at the Statehouse. They discussed the partnership between the United Nations and Kenya, the Sudan, the Great Lakes region and the situation faced by Somali refugees.
After that, he went to the United Nations headquarters in Nairobi and addressed a closed meeting of the Staff Management Consultative Committee, which brings together representatives of about 38,000 staff from all duty stations. He also spoke to a packed Town Hall meeting with hundreds of United Nations staff in Nairobi.
The Secretary-General left Nairobi that night for The Hague, the last leg of his trip to Europe and Africa.