Africities summit bolsters sustainable Africa resolve
Delegates attending the eighth Africities Summit in Marrakesh Morocco have rallied behind Africa’s sustainable agenda in fostering, inclusive growth security, intra African migration and development while emphasizing the need to transition to sustainable cities and territories.
The conference participants also championed for the implementation of continental and global development agendas for a prosperous and peaceful Africa.
"Sustainable development is the only alternative for African cities," said Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, the secretary general of umbrella group United Cities and Local Governments of Africa.
The final call underscored the importance of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda 2036, which recognizes the need to provide local and regional authorities with the necessary resources and capacities to enable them to fulfill their role in achieving the SDGs, notably via greater capacity for land and finance management, taxation and planning, as well as direct access to international funding and loans for climate change mitigation-related activities.
Cities across Africa are already struggling to cope with overcrowding and are predicted to grow to over 1 billion people by 2040, meaning that one in two people on the continent will live in urban areas.
With cities and towns swelling, African governments are facing up to a raft of issues.
Land disputes, pollution, increased poverty and the risk of infectious diseases are all increasing headaches as urban areas boom."The demographic challenge is the main challenge in Africa because we are on an upwards curve," said Mbassi.
Participants committed to share a common aspiration to transform African cities and territories into places where every citizen will live comfortably, peacefully and safely and to strengthen the network of locally elected African female members at the regional and national levels.
In a call addressed to governments, they emphasized the need to promote devolution to ensure good governance and help cities and territories conduct their mandate by providing the necessary financial and human resources. Similarly, they called for enacting laws promoting participatory and gender-responsive local governance through gender mainstreaming in local planning and budgeting.
In addition, representatives of African local governments and their partners expressed their support for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Africa being most affected by warming.
In a message addressed on this occasion, King Mohammed VI of Morocco urged African cities, urban communities and all local officials to fight the phenomenon of street children and to put child-related issues at the heart of decentralization policies.
The pan-African gathering also marked the signing of several cooperation agreements between cities and NGOs.
Several recommendations and proposals emerged from the 160 sessions held across the 5 days under the general theme “The transition to sustainable cities and territories: the role of local and sub-national governments of Africa”.
All of the recommendations and proposals were submitted to ministers, mayors and leaders of local governments and development partners for consideration and adoption at the meeting of ministers, the general meeting of UCLG Africa, and the meeting of development partners, which were organized in parallel
Africities Summit is held every three years in one of the five regions of Africa. It gathers communities and local authorities in African countries, as well as financial institutions, civil society groups and development partners at continental and international level.
The 9th edition of the International Summit of Cities and Local Governments of Africa (Africities) will be held in 2021 in Kisumu, Kenya.
The pan-African event in Marrakesh was attended by a record number of nearly 7,000 Participants, including representatives of some 16,500 local communities in Africa.