Largest Pan African gathering of city and local governments opens in Morocco
The largest pan-African congregation of cities and local governments, the 8th Africities Summit, has opened in Marrakesh Morocco under the theme ‘the transition to sustainable cities and territories: the role of Africa's local and regional governments.’
Over 5,000 delegates including local authorities and elected officials, heads of local and central administrations, civil society organizations and economic operators from the public and private sectors are expected to attend the summit billed as pivotal in helping Africa accelerate the pace of realization of the Sustainable Development goals and the African Union’s blueprint Agenda 2063.
The Africities Summit has two major objectives namely, to define appropriate strategies to improve people’s living conditions at the local level; and, to contribute to the integration, peace and unity of Africa from the bottom up.
By 2100, Africa will be the most populated continent in the world and more than half of the world’s youth will be located in Africa.
As in the process of unifying the global municipal movement, Africa is at the forefront of the search for sustainable territories for a safer world and local authorities are positioning themselves to lead the way in global governance.
The summit will establish Africa's essential place in the definition and implementation of development, integration and cooperation policies and strategies in Africa, and will offer new perspectives for a greater contribution from the continent's local and regional authorities.
“The people of the world are living within the local governments. It is time for the world to understand that most of the planet’s issues are played out in local governments. Unfortunately, local governments do not have the right to speak when it comes to making the major decisions of the planet. The future of most of the Sustainable Development Goals is at stake within local governments, but this Agenda 2030 has been negotiated by the central governments,” said Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi , Secretary General United Cities and Local Governments of Africa, UCLG Africa, the conveners of the conference.
A space open to all those who wish, in alliance with African local authorities, to build alternative policies leading to environmental sustainability and social inclusion in Africa, the Marrakesh gathering aims to mobilize African local authorities and their partners to achieve inclusive and sustainable development in Africa, which has significant resources and enormous growth potential in the world.
Among sessions lined up for debate include ‘Campaign Mobilization: African Cities without Children on the Street’, ‘Design Issues for Local Governance’, and ‘Sustainable Food Systems: An Issue for African Cities and Territories’, amongst others.
Delegates hope to deliberate on these African opportunities and challenges, as well as the role of African local and regional authorities in their implementation.
“The creation of United Cities and Local Governments should facilitate the integration of local governments into global governance. This is still not the case and it is the entire international community that is at a loss. Even the government of a given State is always established in a local community of that country,” Mr. Mbassi added.
The summit will also hold a youth forum for young Africans between the age of 15 and 35, which will include a hackathon competition.
Africities is the flagship pan-African event organized by African Cities and Local Governments (CGLUA), which is held every three years in one of Africa’s five regions since its inaugural summit in Abidjan in 1988, Cote d’Ivoire.