Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr : From words to Action !

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr has been mayor of Free town (Sierra – Leone) since May 2018 . First woman elected to occupy this position after Dr June Holst-Roness (1977 – 1980, Editor’s note: the position was not elective at that time), the city councilor of the Sierra Leone capital has made the transformation of her city her priority.

To achieve this goal, the ” Transform Freetown ” initiative was launched in January 2019. The three-year Transform Freetown plan outlines 19 specific targets across 11 sectors and covers issues ranging from waste management and housing, to improving urban planning, tackling environmental degradation. The plan aims to address the socio-economic challenges and environmental vulnerabilities of Freetown, which remains the country’s economic engine with a contribution of 30% to the GDP. The 11 priority sectors are grouped into four key groups : Resilience, Human Development, Healthy Cities, and Urban Mobility .

The municipal team led by Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr took stock of the progress made so far through the publication of the project’s annual report

In terms of resilience , the city has launched a reforestation campaign with the goal of planting 1 million trees by 2022. “ It’s not just about planting trees; it’s about growing trees and making sure that each of us is part of the process. A million trees is our city’s small contribution to increasing the much-needed global carbon sink.”, explained the mayor during her attendance of the famous TED conference cycle here. The report also highlights the actions taken by the municipality in the response to COVID.

Gender & Climate

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr can be presented as a woman of action, communicating and leading national and international advocacy for her municipality on major global agendas.

In 2020, Freetown implemented the Women4Climat program. The initiative aims to empower and inspire the next generation of women leaders in the field of climate change through global mentorship.

In January 2021, Freetown has notably been chosen e as one of the 5 cities of low- and middle-income countries that received the #GlobalCitiesFund grant from the Council of Mayors on Migration. “ With this grant, we will expand our sustainable waste management microenterprise program by helping young people from informal communities to create 40 new waste collection businesses to serve more households. This directly contributes to our goal of having at least 60% of solid waste collected and safely disposed of by 2022 “, says Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr.

Water and sanitation

Through the Freetown -Blue Peace project launched in December 2020, the Freetown City Council (FCC) intend to obtain innovative funding to implement a sustainable water project in the capital city. “ The Freetown-Blue Peace project considers water as an entry point for interventions that build peace and foster development, because conflict is more likely to occur where there’s no development. We start with water, but we move very quickly into sanitation, which cannot happen without adequate water. Then we will move into markets, which is a source of livelihood—over 60% of our population operates in the informal economy. You don’t often think of water when you think of markets, and that itself is a challenge: the need for water for sanitation in the markets, for cold storage, and so on. And the final element is water drainage. So, it’s beyond running taps. Significantly, Freetown-Blue Peace is about sustainability, and that has three components: first is a real water element, which consists of the provisions of water kiosks. This targets informal settlements, and 35% of our people live in informal settlements; second is sanitation, from the perspective of public toilets. We’ll be constructing 40 water kiosks and 25 public toilets; and lastly, there is the element of collection of solid and liquid waste. We will be procuring vacuum trucks for better collection of solid and liquid waste. Only six percent of liquid waste was being collected in Freetown when I became Mayor in 2018. We have a target to increase that to at least 60 % by 2022.”, she explained in the interview with Africa Renewal here

Halfway through her term, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr is on the right track to keep her word , she who the day after her election said : ” Freetonians, this victory is for all of us. Thank you for believing in my vision and for doing me the honor to servr you as your mayor for the next four years. I look forward to working with all of you to make Freetown a city we are all proud of . “

Good luck , Madam Mayor !


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Workshop response interventions and recovery post-Covid-19 for migrants/ City of Rabat



After the city of Oujda in January, it was around Rabat’s turn to take part in the workshop on Post-Covid response and recovery interventions for migrants, held on February 12, 2021 in the form of a webinar. The workshop organized by UCLG Africa in partnership with the IOM and the city of Rabat, is part of the Project “Towards a shared migration governance”, which is funded by the City of Madrid. The Mayor of Rabat, Mr. Mohamed Sadiki, opened the proceedings in the presence of Mrs. Ana Fonseca, Head of Mission of IOM in Morocco, Mr. Ahmed SKIM, Director of Migration Affairs at the Ministry of Moroccans Residing Abroad and Migration Affairs, and Mr. François Yatta, Representing the Secretary General of UCLG Africa, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi.  About a hundred people took part in the meeting, including ten presidents and general secretaries of migrant associations.

The involvement of the various actors around the management of the migration issue in the COVID and Post – COVID era underlines the importance of local authorities in migration governance according to Ms. Ana Francesca, Head of Mission of IOM Morocco. “This project gives us an opportunity to come together to ensure good governance of migration at the local level. The aim is to protect vulnerable migrants. The project meets the goals of the Global Compact for Migration and of the SDGs. On these two aspects, the local authorities play a key role. The program aims to stimulate all these links in the interaction of these actors in Morocco. And that with a perspective of South-South, South-North cooperation with the city of Madrid”, she explained.

The second part of the webinar was devoted to sharing experiences on the responses given to the migrant population of the city of Rabat during the pandemic. These actions were notably carried out by the city of Rabat, IOM, UNHCR, the “Orient Occident Foundation”, and other stakeholders.

It should be noted the creation of a digital app to help beneficiaries register their requests. It should also be pointed out that refugees benefited from UNHCR financial assistance, the dissemination of awareness-raising materials to deal with COVID, the launch of a psychological caravan, the establishment of a toll-free number open to all migrants, the launch of  a web radio (LiveRadio) to educate and support migrants and asylum seekers, the establishment of an SOS Migrants unit, the distribution of food baskets and telephone refills, the manufacture of sanitary masks, the development of an online training platform, and other actions.

The Actions on the ground have come up against the major challenge posed by the fear of some migrants to ask for help, because they are afraid to be arrested or deported. In addition, many migrants do not benefit from the Moroccan regime for medical aid to the most deprived (“RAMED”), underlined the associations present.

The associations ask in particular:

– that migrants be made aware of their fundamental rights;

-and that advocacy be made for local funding of associations helping migrants.

Mr. François YATTA, Program Mr. François YATTA, Director of Programs of UCLG Africa, thanked, on behalf of the Secretary General, the IOM, the City of Rabat, the City of Madrid, and the “local associations of migrants who do a painstaking work on the ground “. Mr. YATTA took the opportunity to thank the Kingdom of Morocco for the “establishment of the African Migration Observatory which is an effective tool for managing the phenomenon of migration. The added value of this observatory will be to set up a multi-level information gathering process”.

Watch  the full webinar below (in French). 

Recruitment staff for Jinja GOVERNANCE, RESILIENCE AND GREENING project







In the framework of Jinja GOVERNANCE, RESILIENCE AND GREENING project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) in partnership with the Cities of Jinja (Uganda), Soria (Spain), Chefchaouen (Morocco) and Kisumu (Kenya), recruitment for the following positions is open:

Candidates who are interested in applying for one of the positions listed above should send their applications before 23rd February 2021, by 10.00am (GMT).

Postponement of the Africities 9 Summit (PRESS RELEASE)

The pan-African organization of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) informs the public and partner institutions that the ninth edition of the Africities Summit (Africities 9) initially scheduled to take place from November 16 to November 20, 2021 in Kisumu (Kenya) ), is postponed for the period from April 26 to 30, 2022, still in Kisumu.

The Government of Kenya has requested the postponement of the Summit due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which is affecting the country, along with other nations of the world.

The theme of the Summit remains: “The role of Africa’s intermediary cities in the implementation of the UN’s Agenda 2030 and the African Union’s Agenda 2063″.  

Kisumu is the very first intermediate city to host the Africities Summit. The previous Africities 8 edition, held in Marrakech in November 2018 in Morocco, was attended by a record 8,300 participants from 79 countries, including 52 African countries.

The Africities summit is the largest democratic gathering organized on the African continent. It brings together the ministers every three years; mayors and leaders of local authorities; representatives of civil society, the private sector, academia and research; national, regional and international financial institutions; development partners; and other stakeholders.       

The Africities summit offers a unique platform for dialogue on the role of local authorities in the development and unity of Africa, and on the place of decentralization in improving the governance of public affairs in Africa.   

For further information please contact:
Gaëlle Yomi :
Phone: + 212 610 56 71 45
e-mail : gyomi@uclga.org
Visit the UCLG Africa website : www.uclga.org

Watch the message of the SG of UCLG Africa

European Union 2021-2027 Programming Process: Africa’s Local and Regional Authorities Hold National Seminars

The preparation of African local governments is intensifying with a view to taking part in the negotiations for the 2021-2027 programming of European cooperation. Benefiting from the technical support of UCLG Africa since May 2020, the national associations of local authorities of the continent are working hard to meet expectations during the exchanges scheduled for the end of February 2021.

January 2021 was marked by the holding of national seminars for the validation of the roadmap that the associations will bring to the negotiating table. This roadmap highlights the priority areas of financing for local authorities according to the needs of the populations of their country. For this EU programming cycle (2021-2027), they will be around the table with national governments.

The first associations that have already organized their national seminars to validate their roadmap are : Libya (14 December 2020), Nigeria (19 January 2021), Cameroon (21 January 2021), Zambia (21 January 2021), Cape Verde (26 January 2021).

As a reminder, the national associations of African local authorities will have to lead the advocacy on 3 points:

1) To have local governments recognized as state actors. Associations must obtain this status from national governments on the basis of the EU Communication made in 2013;

2) To have national associations of local and regional authorities considered as political representatives of local governments and have them integrated into negotiations alongside national governments;

3) To ensure that all public policies are territorialized since there is a national dimension and a territorial dimension to any policy that will be implemented, including the financial support to be provided by the European Union.

The financing made available in the new programming of the European Union Commission for the period (2021-2027) amounts to Thirty-two billion euros.

24th session of UCLG Africa’s Executive Committee

The Executive Committee and the Pan-African Council of UCLG Africa attended ordinary sessions by video conference, on Monday 07 December 2020.

The session of the Executive committee was mainly devoted to the adoption of UCLG Africa’s budget and 2021 work plan, whilst the session of the Pan-African Council primarily focused on the 2021-2030 ten-year strategic plan of the organization (GADDEPA 2.0). Sessions were led by Dr. Mohamed Boudra, Mayor of Al Hoceima, President of the Moroccan Association of Presidents of Communal Councils (AMPCC), Vice-President of UCLG Africa, and President of UCLG World.

The opening speech of the Executive committee was made by General Mahmoud Shaarawy, Minister of Local Development of the Arab Republic of Egypt in the presence of Ms. Soham El Wardini, Mayor of Dakar (Senegal), Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the West Africa Region; Mr. Uwimana Innocent, President of RALGA (Rwanda), Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the East Africa Region; Ms. Dao Macoura, Mayor of Foumbolo (Côte d’Ivoire), President of REFELA (Network of locally elected women in Africa); General Khaled Abdel Aal, Governor of Cairo (Egypt); Ms. Fatimetou Abdel Malick, President of the Regional Council of Nouakchott (Mauritania); and Mr. Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa.

General Mahmoud Shaarawy welcomed the cooperation between his country, Egypt, and UCLG Africa and announced the signing of the Headquarters Agreement for the North Africa regional office of UCLG Africa, which is scheduled for February 2021 in Cairo (Egypt). “In addition, we would like to reiterate our call to host the second edition of the conference, ‘African cities, locomotive of sustainable development’, to continue the momentum of the first edition, organized in June 2019. We are eager to emerge from this Covid crisis to find out how our African cities have been able to face this major challenge. I would like to express our support for the celebration of Rabat as African Capital of Culture for 2020-2021. Rabat is a historic city that has contributed to the enrichment of Arab and African culture through the ages. I take the opportunity to report that we are continuing the work for the signing and ratification by our country of the African Charter of the Values ​​and Principles of Decentralization, Local Governance and Local Development and of the Civil Service Charter of the African Union. We will let you know once the process is complete.

The Executive Committee adopted the 2021 budget and work plan of UCLG Africa and approved the activity report of the general secretariat for the period from June to November 2020 and the budget execution report, dated 30 October 2020.

Read more.

Recommandations of the 4th Edition of the African Forum of Territorial Managers and Training Institutes Targeting the Local Government (FAMI 4 )

The 4th Edition of the African Forum of Territorial Managers and Training Institutes Targeting the Local Government (FAMI 4 ) brought together from 23 to 28 November 2020 nearly 686 participants on the Zoom Platform, 33%  were women, representing , 33 African countries and 12 non-African countries: Austria, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Nepal, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, USA.

The theme of the meeting was : “Promoting Effective, Ethical, Transparent, and Accountable Local Public Institutions in Africa to act and impact the Decade of Action ” . FAMI was punctuated by an official opening, 5 Plenary Sessions, 6 Parallel Workshops, a Meeting of the Local Africa HRNet, the holding of the 5th Meeting of the Academic Council of ALGA of UCLG-Africa and a Virtual Excursion to discover the Potential, the Structuring Projects, the Heritage and Culture of the Region Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima.

The following recommandations were made by the participants:

1) The Political Will: “Zero Tolerance to Corruption and the Corrupt”, Acting by Example, Setting the Example
(Corruption is not and should not be African; corruption should not exist in our Communities)
2) Work, Promote and Anchor the Moralization of Public Life.
3) To have solid, responsible and respectful Institutions of the Rule of Law, Law and Order.
4) Respect for ethical principles and values in all institutions and in all spheres of governance.
5) Promote, Respect and Anchor Participatory and Inclusive Approaches.

6) Understand, appropriate and implement the New Principles of Effective Governance.
7) Investing in Human Capital at all Levels (Education, Socialization, Training, Capacity Building, Tutoring, Mentoring, Peer Learning, Case Studies, Good Practices, Networking, putting an end to the Assistantship Spirit and Learning to Count on Self, ….).
8) Have Principles, Institutions, procedures and mechanisms to anchor and respect Accountability.
9) Have an enabling environment and holistic and systemic approaches.
10) Transform Leadership at all levels.

Read the full report of the forum here.

A multi-level structured dialogue on climate finance: the untapped potential of investments in mitigation and adaptation at the subnational level




As part of its participation in the work of LOCs4Africa, a session was organized by UCLG Africa, in partnership with ICLEI and CoM SSA, on vertical governance under the theme,     A multi-level structured dialogue on climate finance: the untapped potential of investments in mitigation and adaptation at the subnational level.

The session, organized in two parts, was moderated by Stéphane M. Pouffary, General Manager of ENERGIES 2050 and Mr. Mohamed Nbou, Director of the Climate Task Force at UCLG Africa, with the participation of the following panelists: Ms. Giorgia Rambelli and Mr. Andy Deacon (GCoM), Ms. Kobie Brand, Regional Director ( ICLEI Africa ), Mr. Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General (CEMR), as well as Mr. Mohamed Sefiani, Mayor of Chefchaouen and Co-President of the Climate Task Force of UCLG Africa and Mrs. Georgette Djenontin Daba, Climate Change Focal Point of the National Association of Communes of Benin (ANCB).

The efforts undertaken within the framework of the CoM SSA were the entry points of discussion to identify the salient points of the debate. Special thanks go to the CoM SSA initiative, the Climate Task Force of UCLG Africa, that has made it possible to institute an approach that structures and facilitates the establishment of a collaborative framework between a national government and the local governments. The CoM SSA was also the initiator of the proposal to revise the NDCs starting with the definition of Locally Determined Contributions (LDCs) through the establishment of a Structured Dialogue between the two levels of local and national decisions to achieve effective territorialization of NDCs.

This proposal for LDCs was endorsed by the Africa group at COP 25 in December 2019 in Madrid and is currently the subject of a pilot study in the Souss-Massa region in Morocco. The results of this pilot project will be presented during the Local Authorities Day, scheduled during COP 26 in November 2021 in Glasgow and will be disseminated to local authorities in Africa.

The LDC concept also aims to amplify the voice of African local authorities with regional and international financial institutions and mobilize the still poorly exploited potential at the local level for a better implementation of the Paris Accord.

Following this perspective, the main part of the session debate focused on the means of building bridges of climate finance and removing the obstacles and barriers to lay the foundations of a framework that will foster the pooling of efforts between the two decision-making levels, the national and local one, in order to speed up the pace of implementation of NDCs.

Read More.

24th Session of the Executive Committee of UCLG Africa

On 7 December, 2020, the Executive Committee and the Pan-African Council of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) will meet in ordinary sessions by videoconference.

The Executive Committee will hold its 24th session at 10:00 am. This session will focus on the adoption of the 2021 budget and work plan of UCLG Africa.

The Pan-African Council will meet at 3:00 p.m. It will receive and give its orientations on the proposed ten-year strategic plan 2021-2030 of the continental organization of local governments (GADDEPA 2.0). It will also discuss the participation of members of UCLG Africa in the activities of the commissions and working groups of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).

The official ceremony of the meeting of the Executive Committee will be opened by General Mahmoud Shaarawy, Minister of Local Development of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

The two meetings will be chaired by Dr. Mohamed Boudra, Mayor of Al Hoceima, President of the Moroccan Association of Presidents of Communal Councils (AMPCC), Vice-President of UCLG Africa and President of UCLG World.

As a reminder, the Executive Committee of UCLG Africa is the body responsible for the political leadership of the organization. The Executive Committee has 16 members: 15 members representing each of the continent’s 5 regions, (i.e. 3 members for each of the 5 regions), to which is added the President of the Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA), UCLG Africa’s commission on gender.

The Pan-African Council of UCLG Africa is the body responsible for the annual supervision of the management of UCLG Africa between the meetings of the General Assembly, which take place every three years within the framework of the Africities Summits. It has 45 active members, i.e. 9 for each African sub-region.


For further information please contact: 

Gaëlle Yomi: Phone : + 212 610 56 71 45

e-mail: gyomi@uclga.org 

Visit the UCLG Africa website :  www.uclga.org