African Mayors Award: Large and Small Cities Shortlisted

The names of the shortlisted cities in two of the three major categories in the African Mayors Awards have been announced on 20 April 2015. The two categories in question are the “Large Cities” category and the “Small Cities” category with three cities competing in each one of them.


In the “Large Cities” category, the cities selected by the jury are:

  • •Accra, Ghana
  • •Cape Town, South Africa
  • •Dakar, Senegal

For the “Small Cities” category, the finalists are:

  • • Bangangte, Cameroon
  • •Asunafo North , Ghana
  • •Praia, Cape Verde


The finalists were unanimously selected by the competition’s jury panel, which includes:

  • •Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments-Africa (UCLG Africa).
  • •Tokunbo Omisore, Chairman of the African Union of Architects.
  • •Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director for UN-Habitat.
  • •Victor Leonel Miguel, Chairman of the Angolan Architects Union.
  • •Gaetan Siew, Chair, Construction Industry Sector of Mauritius.


The next stage of the competition will see the shortlisted cities announced on the formal ceremony and gala dinner on 30 April, in conjunction with the 2nd Africa Urban Infrastructure Investment Forum, 29-30 April, at CCTA – Talatona Convention Centre, Luanda, Angola.


The winners from each category will receive important prizes that amount to:

  • •200 000 US Dollars for the winner in the “Large Cities” category (1,000.000 or more residents);
  • •50. 000 US Dollars for “Small cities” category (up to 200 000 residents).
  • •100 000 US Dollars for the “Medium-sized” cities category (less than 1 000 000 and more than 200 000 residents);

Concerning this last category, the shortlisted cities will be announced soon.

For more information about the awards and the shortlisted cities, you can visit the event website here.

UCLG Africa on Radio France International (RFI)

On the occasion of the Environment World Day, the RFI program “7 milliards de voisins” was in Brussels during the European Development Days (EDD15).

The guests on the radio program tackled the issue of rapid urbanization and the ways it challenges the fight against Climate Change.


The guests who took part in the program were:

– Khalifa Ababacar Sall, Mayor of Dakar and President of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa).

– Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa.

– Philipe Camille Akoa, Special Fund for Mutual Assistance Equipment (FEICOM) CEO.

– Alexandre Polack, European Commission Spokesperson for International Cooperation, Development, Humanitarian Aid & Crisis Management.

Listen to the recorded program here. (Available only in French)

Annual General Assembly of the Association of Presidents of local governments of Morocco

UCLG Africa was invited to attend the second annual general assembly of the Association of Presidents of local governments of Morocco in Rabat on 15 February 2015. UCLG Africa delegation headed by its President, Khalifa Sall also included the UCLG Africa secretary general, the Chief of staff and director of operation and the head of protocol services at the UCLG Africa secretariat. The assembly was attended by around 1 000 local government Presidents, and numerous local national and local administrations senior staff.

The opening ceremony was chaired by the deputy minister in the ministry of internal affairs of Morocco. In his introductory remarks the Deputy Minister insisted on the role of decentralization in strengthening Moroccan democracy. In seeking for service delivery to citizen by local authorities, the association is key when it comes to dialoguing with the national government for the implementation of the constitution provisions on advanced regionalization. His Majesty King Mohammed VI said that decentralization is not a technique but rather a political option to modernize and democratize our country. The theme chosen for this assembly is quite relevant to an effective implementation of the new decentralized model envisioned for the country. The new legal instruments, local government finance, capacity building for local governments and city diplomacy are important building blocks in the implementation of the new decentralized governance of Morocco. The partnership agreement to be signed during this ceremony between the Ministry of Interior and the Association of local governments of Morocco shows the high expectation that the government is putting on the association of Presidents of local governments to help the government in addressing effectively the challenge of decentralization.

The Minister of Urban and regional development of Morocco, Mr Laensar, explained the need for an active local government national association which role is key in shaping the direction for a more decentralized governance, as an efficient partner to the national government. He expressed wishes of long live for the national association of Mayors of Morocco.

The UCLG Africa President, Mayor of Dakar, Senegal, wished first to extend his gratitude to the Kingdom of Morocco, a land of decentralization, which hosts the Headquarters of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa, UCLG Africa, the umbrella organization of African local authorities. We went on saying that Morocco is a model in terms of financing local governments, and on decentralization reforms. This is the sign that this country is starting to realize that local government is the true way to development. We are heading to the Africities Summit in Johannesburg, from 1 to 5 December 2015, to the UN Conference on Finances for Development in Addis Ababa in July 2015, to COP21 meeting on Climate Change in Paris in December 2015, to the 5th UCLG Congress in Bogotá and to the Habitat III Conference in October 2016. Local authorities from Africa and from Morocco specifically, should take their due place in these agendas, and shall not wait for permission by national government to be at the fore of local responsiveness to the expectations of citizen. When good or bad events occur to them, citizen go first to the mayor before calling on the wali or the representative of the national line ministry. Therefore mayors and local authorities should endeavour as envisioned during this assembly, to capacitate themselves in order to be able to plan local development, to improve local finance and local governance, to organize the regular delivery of affordable basic services, to strive and develop participatory approaches which will enhance social inclusion and justice, and to be active in city diplomacy and transborder decentralized cooperation. He ended his speech by wishing great success to the second general assembly of the association of Presidents of local governments of Morocco.

The President of the national association of the Presidents of local governments of Morocco, welcomed first the ministers and participants at this important gathering. He expressed hope that the new decentralization laws pave the way towards the effective implementation of the advanced regionalization as a response to the demands of the Moroccan people. Local authorities should win the battle of development and should mobilize their experiences to enrich the building of a conducive environment for the implementation of the option for decentralized of public governance championned by His Majesty the King and translated into the Moroccan constitution of the year 2011. He wished that the organic laws on decentralization are enriched by the proposals gathered during regional fora organized by the association with local authorities across the country. He also stressed the importance of city diplomacy to open up new avenues  for the country international relations, and to nurtur exchanges between local authorities within Africa and abroad. The association is ready to collaborate with all institutions in national and international levels to make this new decentralized governance a reality in the day to day life of the Moroccan people. The association is a platform for participating in the definition and implementation of better the public policies in this country. He thanked the members of the bureau of the association for their engagement and dedication, and wished success for the proceedings of the assembly.

The opening session ended with a ceremony where a distinction was granted to a key personnality who has done a lot to defend the cause of local governments in Morocco and abroad, Mr. Moulay Abdelaziz Hafidi Alaoui, Mayor of Outat el Hadj local government.

A distinction was also attributed to the Mayor of Dakar, Mr. Khalifa Ababacar Sall, in his capacity as President of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa.

Retreat and Campus of the UCLG network

A retreat was called on 9-13 February 2015 by the UCLG secretariat to assess and reflect on the collaborative work within the UCLG network, taking advantage of the new opportunities offered by the Strategic partnership recently concluded with the European Commission.

All general secretaries of the UCLG sections and the 19 secretaries of UCLG committees and working groups were in attendance.

The meeting had 3 segments: 1) a meeting of the secretariats of the UCLG section on Monday 9 February; 2) a campus of UCLG committees and working groups on Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 February 2015; 3) a debate with UCLG Partners on Thursday 12 February 2015.

The general secretaries had at objectives to develop exchanges between all different parts of the nerwork and define concrete join actions. It also updated participants on the global and regional agendas for an improved ownership, and defined ways and tools aiming at better interactions across the network. It was recommended that secretariats general should be trained on the management of network which training course is available online.

The campus of the committees and working groups aimed at building a shared agenda to build synergies with the objective to have convergence towards the global work. A detailed plan of actions was defined, including in financing, cooperation and learning and institutional relations and advocacy.

Tomorrow Thursday 12 February will be devoted to a brainstorming with UCLG Partners that will help build a new narrative on UCLG and explore ways to deepen collaboration.

Friday 13 February 2015 is reserved to a meeting of the UCLG political leadership chaired by UCLG President Kadir Topbas, Mayor of Istanbul.

Publication :Assessing the Institutional Environment of Local Governments in Africa

« Africa’s cities are growing at an unprecedented rate, of over 3% per year on average. The continent’s urban population is expected to double over the next 20 to 30 years, with a majority of Africans living in cities.

Similar to other regions of the developing world, Africa is transforming from a mostly rural region into an urban one. As such, managing the urban process and positioning cities as inclusive engines of growth is an urgent priority for Africa.

With the political, social and economic role of cities growing increasingly important, governance hasemerged as a major issue. As a result of decentralization laws, local governments are expected to play a crucial role in the urbanization process. How effectively they are able to do so, depends largely on the transparency of the policy framework and on how much leeway they are given by national governments. Local governments must be empowered with the functions and resources necessary toinnovate, promote local development, and be accountable to their citizens. »

Based on these assessments, UCLG Africa and Cities Alliance decided to partner in order to propose an assessment of the institutional environment of local governments in Africa. This report analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the institutional framework set by the African countries to promote local governance and suggest ways to improve its efficiency.

This publication was unveiled on October 3rd during UCLG’s world summit in Rabat

This assessment, the first of its kind for the African Continent, is to be reviewed and and reedited every two to three years. You can read this report online, here.

Photo Lancement-Publication Environnement CL2

Unveileing of the publication during UCLG’s Wolrd Congress in Rabat, with Khalifa Sall  (President of UCLG Africa), Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi (Secretary General of UCLG Africa) and William Cobbett (Head of Programs of Cities Alliance)


UCLG Africa at Metropolis Annual Meeting in Johannesburg

The Metropolis Annual Meeting took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 16-19 July 2013, with the participation of World Mayors. During this event, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi represented United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) as its Secretary General.


In a local interview with the South African Cities Network, Mr. Mbassi discussed the concept of Ubuntu, an African philosophy focusing on human relations, on which the conference’s theme “Caring Cities” is based. UCLG Africa’s Secretary General then emphasized on a top challenge facing urban Africa: “Considering people as an asset” and planning cities based on people’s potential rather than demand. Mr. Mbassi also underlined how not only can African cities learn from the South  African experiences, but also how South African mayors can take lessons from African initiatives to include the people in the management of their cities.

Check here the full interview