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The following article was published in our article directory on January 14, 2011.
Learn more about SpinDistribute Article Distribution System.

Using Medium and Small Towns to Enhance Rural-Urban

Article Category: Culture

Author Name: Amanda xzh

It would be unhelpful to generalise or prescribe a single uniform approach for all the towns and sectors of a country as large and diverse as Nigeria. But it is important to identify the policy, planning and investment implications of the actual and potential linkages between rural and urban development, and highlight how small towns can be used to promote regional development and poverty alleviation. Some of the global action agendas of the 1990s, especially Agenda 21 of the Rio Earth Summit and the Habitat Agenda of the Istanbul City Summit provide useful guides that could profitably be adapted to local conditions in Nigeria and other developing countries. The Habitat Agenda for instance advocates "an integrated approach to promote balanced and mutually supportive urban-rural development" through "strong local and national institutions that place emphasis on rural-urban linkages and treat villages and towns as two sides of the human settlement continuum". (UN-Habitat 1998).

To accomplish this, current research on best practices suggests among other things the need to create strong local government systems through genuine decentralization; the need to support urban based informal/small enterprises sector which have strong links to and influence on rural livelihoods; to emphasize linkages rather than boundaries in local administrations and economies. These areas of emphasis have implications for the current programmes of political restructuring and decentralization in Nigeria.

The 1976 local government reform is criticized for creating a uniform, single tier structure of local government for the whole country, making no distinction between the urban and rural areas. Current thinking on development suggests, however, that it is perhaps best to emphasize linkages rather than boundaries in the structure of local governments, 'as urban-rural linkages can best be managed by new types of local authorities which transcend traditional administrative boundaries between cities and rural areas, capable of managing settlements and their economic, social and environmental linkages at the regional settlement level" (Hundsalz, 2001).

Unfortunately, in spite of the decentralization of power implied in the creation of more states and local governments in Nigeria, decision making and resource allocation have remained highly centralized. Although the percentage of national revenue allocated to local governments has increased from 3% in 1976 to 20% in 1991, local governments still remain under the legal and political influence of the highter levels of government whose political leaders appear to have different interests and priorities. Many of the local governments also appear to be too large and distant from the grassroots to be able to play the catalytic role expected of small and medium towns. It would be helpful in this regard to revisit the recommendations of the Dasuki Committee on the Review of Local Government Administration in Nigeria, (1985) and the Report of the Political Bureau (1987) both of which urge further strcutural decentralization to ensure that local governments are close enough to the people to be able to appreciate their needs and provide meaningful scope for local participation.

Other measures are needed to strengthen explicit linkages between programmes for small towns and agricultural/rural development. In respect of planning, there is a growing consensus that planning practice needs to be made more realistic, more flexible and advisory, and more compatible with local conditions. Although the discredited colonial Town and Planning Act of 1946 has since been replaced by the 1992 Urban and Regional Planning Law, the National Planning Commission, the State Planning Boards and the Local Government Planning Authorities envisaged in the implementation of the provision of the law have yet to become operational. There is also the long standing need to review the centralized approach to land use control introduced by the 1978 Land Use Decree/Act, and to move towards a more decentralized land delivery system that would be better able to ensure enhanced land and housing tenure for townspeople, especially the uban poor (Nwaka, 2004b).

Proper links must also be forged among the small towns, and between them and the large cities, to ensure that the growth impulses and benefits engendered in the secondary cities are spread and not appropriated by the elite who live there. The towns themselves need to be provided with basic services and economic oriented infrastructure-shelter, water supply, electricity, markets, marketing and storage facilities and so on. Small businesses and informal sector enterprises need to be promoted and protected through improved access to credit, technical support and training opportunities, as well as less restrictive licensing procedure to help legalise their status. Improved access to farm imputs, agro-processing equipment and facilities for rural farmers, and opportunities for non-farm employment are essential for improvement in rural conditions.

With the prevailing economic and political uncertainties and budgetary constraints in the country central and state governments must sometimes be content to play a more enabling role of promoting active partnership between the government and the people, and making conditions for self help and private sector participation as favourable as possible.

Another way of incorporating rural development in urban development planning is to recognise and promote the strong ties which exist between towns-people and countryfolk in most African countries. In Nigeria most town dwellers straddle the urban and rural worlds, and maintain close links with their hometowns. Individually, and collectively through ethnic unions and clan associations, they channel resources and progressive ideas to their home villages, and invest considerable proportions of their urban savings in social and productive economic ventures in the villages.

Official policy should seek ways to harness the enormous amounts of urban to rural remittances, and fund-raising activities organised by townspeople for development projects in their hometowns. Strengthening hometown ties may be one of the ways of tying small town policies to rural development programmes; and it is in this sense that "the road to rural development in Africa may well go through urban investments".

Finally, the promotion of medium and small towns should not be seen as a substitute for direct programmes of urban and rural development, but rather as an essential component of national policy for balanced development of the whole range of human settlements in the country.

About the Author: I am Amanda, and my work is to promote a free online trade platform. contain a great deal of information about 4 jaw chuck,new balance 8505,electric radiant heaters, welcome to visit!

Keywords: 4 jaw chuck, new balance 8505, electric radiant heaters

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