On 17 and 18 June 2021, the city of Cairo (Egypt) hosted the 25th ordinary session of the Executive Committee of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa).
The opening ceremony took place on 17 June 2021, under the effective chairmanship of His Excellency Mahmoud Shaarawy, Minister of Local Development of Egypt. The ceremony was punctuated by the speeches of Dr. Mohamed Boudra, Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the North Africa region and President of UCLG World, General Khaled Abdel Al Aal, Governor of Cairo, the Honorable Peter Anyang Nyong’o, Governor of Kisumu (Kenya) and Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa. Also present were high officials of the Egyptian authority and the members of the Executive Committee.
In his opening speech, the Minister of Local Development, His Excellency Mahmoud Shaarawy, underlined the growing interest of his country “for the continent since 2014, within the framework of the implementation of the directives of the President of the Republic, His Excellency Mr. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Based on the vision of the Egyptian state and its political leadership regarding the need to share our experience in the field of infrastructure development, I would like to highlight a set of inspiring facts in this regard and the achievements that have been made over the past seven years, including an unprecedented level of urbanization and urban development, where 20 new cities have been built, which is equivalent to about 90% of the number of cities built in the past 50 years. The national government is working to eradicate slums and provide safe alternative housing for 23 million citizens. Egypt is witnessing an improvement in the quality of local, regional, and international roads. Egypt’s pioneering experience in the development of infrastructure projects is an example that we are happy to share with our African brothers”.
Dr. Mohamed Boudra said he was “satisfied with the efforts made by UCLG Africa to improve the situation of cities and local authorities in African countries, efforts that reflect a responsible commitment to meet the challenges of sustainable local development and to demand a better reality for the cities of the continent. The Cairo meeting is a positive step to enrich the public debate concerning the areas of sustainable development and local democracy on the continent, as well as to support all causes relating to economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights.”.
For his part, General Khaled Abdel Aal, Governor of Cairo, stressed that the selection of the Egyptian capital by UCLG Africa to host the headquarters of its regional office for North Africa is a mark of recognition of the important role that plays Egypt in solving the continent’s problems. The UCLG Africa Office for North Africa (NARO) is called to become “a beacon in terms of knowledge and a mechanism to support and strengthen our common African work, as well as a center to address the challenges facing our African cities”.
The Governor of Kisumu, in his speech, assured that his city is ready to host the 9th edition of the Africities Summit scheduled for April 26 to 30, 2022. “This session of the Executive Committee comes at a time when our continent is fighting against the pandemic of Covid-19. The coronavirus has had a huge impact on our local communities in Kenya. However, I am happy to report that preparations for the next Africities Summit to be held in Kisumu are progressing well. The Government of Kenya has mobilized considerable resources to ensure that we organize a memorable event. Since then, the infrastructure has been improved and the construction of the roads to reach the event venue has started and we hope to complete them by the end of this year 2021. The construction of the Africities Convention Center will start in the coming days for delivery within 6 months”, reassured the Honorable Anyang’ Nyong’o
The Secretary General of UCLG Africa, for his part, stressed that “Egypt has always been a place of new beginnings for our organization. I would like to remind you that it is in this city of Cairo that we organized for the first time a meeting of the Pan-African Council of Local Authorities: it was in 2010, as part of Africa’s participation in the second congress of the world organization of local governments (UCLG) held in Mexico in October 2010. It is also here in Egypt that we formulated the common position of Africa which was to lead to the election of Mr. Kadir Topas mayor of Istanbul, as the second president of the world organization UCLG. It is also here that in June 2019 we held a meeting which decided on Africa’s candidacy for the presidency of the world organization UCLG and this candidacy that was chosen here in Cairo, under the auspices of the Egyptian government and the Egyptian people, appointed Dr. Mohamed Boudra as the candidate of Africa for the position of world President of UCLG, during the general assembly held in November 2019 in Durban, South Africa. The Egyptian Minister of Local Development accompanied us in this election; we won this election, and Dr. Boudra became the president of UCLG at the global level. This testifies to the central place of Egypt in our organization. Egypt has also offered to host the regional office for North Africa. For us, Egypt is the starting point for the renewal of our movement. What we ask Egypt to do is to continue to be the defender of local and regional governments because we are convinced that the unity and development of Africa will be achieved from the local level. Development is either local or it does not exist at all”, pleaded Mr. Mbassi.
Signing of the NARO headquarters agreement
After the opening ceremony, a delegation of the Executive Committee of UCLG Africa was received in audience by the Egyptian Prime Minister S.EM. Mostafa Madbouly, following which the Agreement was signed between the government of Egypt and UCLG Africa for the hosting of the Headquarters of the UCLG Africa Regional Office for North Africa (NARO), in Cairo. The delegation received by the Prime Minister included: the Honorable Eugene Wamalwa, Minister of Devolution of Kenya, Dr. Mohamed Boudra, President of UCLG world, Mr. Armand Roland Pierre Béouindé, Vice-president of UCLG World for Africa, Mr. Innocent Uwimana, Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the East Africa Region, Mrs. Macoura Dao, President of the Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA), Mr. Augustin Tamba, President of the United Councils and Cities of Cameroon (UCCC), Mr. Dieudonné Bantsimba, President of the Association of Mayors of Congo (AMC), the Honorable Anyang ‘Nyong’o, Governor of Kisumu, Mr. Waleed Ali Bouheesah, Vice-President of the National Union of Municipal Councils of Libya, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa, and Mr. Mohamed Cherkaoui, Chief of Protocol of UCLG Africa.
The Prime Minister underlined that “the choice of Cairo to host the 25th session of the Executive Committee of UCLG Africa is a source of pride” for his country. Mr. Madbouly expressed the total support of Egypt to Kenya for the organization of the next edition of the Africities Summit in Kisumu, and confirmed the interest of Egypt to host the next Africities Summit in 2024.
Following the meeting with the Prime Minister, the delegation joined the other participants to visit the NARO headquarters in Heliopolis. On this occasion, the participants were informed of the appointment of Ambassador Mohamed Hegazy, as Director of the UCLG Africa regional office for the North Africa region (NARO).
Proceedings of the 25th session of the Executive Committee
The second day, June 18, was marked by the proceedings of the 25th session of the Executive Committee devoted mainly to the approval of the accounts for the financial year 2020; the launch of the preparation process for the elective general assembly of UCLG Africa which will take place on April 29, 2022; the review of the state of preparations for the 9th edition of the Africities Summit scheduled for Kisumu, Kenya from April 26 to 30, 2022; and the evaluation of the participation of associations of local governments in Africa in the programming of the new cooperation cycle of the European Union with partner countries (2021-2027).
The proceedings were led by Dr. Mohamed Boudra, Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the North Africa region, in the presence of 12 of the 16 members of the Executive Committee (i.e. 09 in person and 3 online). The city of Libreville and the Association of Local Authorities of Zambia were excused.
The Executive Committee adopted the report of the Financial Management Commission which met on the morning of June 17, 2021 and gave discharge to the Secretary General for the management of UCLG Africa for the financial year 2020.
The Executive Committee has been informed of the eligibility conditions to take part in the next elective general assembly scheduled for April 29, 2022 in Kisumu, as part of the 9th edition of the Africities Summit. In the direction of this General Assembly, the Secretary General of UCLG Africa and the Vice-Presidents of UCLG Africa of the five regions are mandated by the Executive Committee to organize the regional caucuses by December 2021. During these caucuses, each region will designate its candidates for the various positions for the renewal of the bodies of the organization: Pan-African Council, Financial Management Commission, Executive Committee, Presidency of UCLG Africa, and designation of the representative of the region to the electoral commission set up to supervise the conduct of the electoral operations.
The Executive Committee received from the Kenyan delegation led by the Minister of Devolution of Kenya, His Excellency Mr. Eugene Wamalwa, and the Honorable Peter Anyang Nyong’o, Governor of Kisumu County. A communication was made on the state of play of preparations for the 9th edition of the Africities Summit scheduled for April 26-30, 2022 in Kisumu, Kenya. The official launch of the Summit website corresponding to the registration website for the Summit is scheduled for late June-early July 2021 at the latest.
The Executive Committee welcomed the progress observed in the preparation of the Africities Summit in Kisumu, and renewed its recommendation to the Kenyan delegation to travel to Morocco to benefit from the experience in organizing the last Africities Summit. in Marrakech in November 2018. The Kenyan delegation has resolved to go on mission to Morocco from July 10, 2021 if travel is authorized.
Regarding the support provided by UCLG Africa to members for their participation in the programming process of the new cooperation cycle of the European Union with partner countries (2021-2027), the Executive Committee was informed that 48 national associations have been supported in producing the roadmap for local authorities and negotiating their inclusion in the new European cooperation program. The Delegations of the E.U. must submit the cooperation programs of each country to the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels no later than June 30, 2021. This is why the Executive Committee calls on each national association of local and regional authorities to get in touch immediately with the Delegation of the E.U. in their respective countries and with the national administration of their country in charge of European cooperation to ensure that the roadmap of local and regional governments is taken into account in the new 2021-2027 program of the European cooperation.
Concerning the miscellaneous items of the agenda, the members of the Executive Committee were informed of the progress of the celebration of RABAT, African Capital of Culture, the official launch of which should take place on January 24, 2022, date of the celebration of the World Day of African and Afro-descendant Culture.
The Executive Committee validated the proposal to sign 5 partnerships between:
In her talk by videoconference, the Honorable Thembisile Nkadimeng, Mayor of Polokwane and President of South African Local Government Association (SALGA), requested that a minute of silence be observed in memory of His Excellency Mr. Kenneth Kaunda, former President of the Republic of Zambia, whose work in favor of the freedom fighters in South Africa, Angola, Namibia, and Mozambique was so decisive for the successful outcome of the liberation struggle of the peoples of these countries.
In his closing remarks for the 25th session of the Executive Committee of UCLG Africa, Dr. Boudra asked the members of UCLG Africa to show their solidarity with their colleagues from the Association of Municipalities of Burkina Faso (AMBF) and to its President, Mr. Armand Roland Pierre Béouindé, Mayor of Ouagadougou, as well as to the brotherly people of Burkina Faso, following the Solhan massacre, where 132 people were killed by terrorists on the night of June 4 to June 5, 2021. Dr Boudra asked the President of the Association of Municipalities of Burkina Faso (AMBF) to be the spokesperson for the Executive Committee of UCLG Africa to present to the families affected the sincere condolences of the community of local governments of Africa, and to express the fraternal solidarity of the cities and local governments of Africa towards their colleagues in Burkina Faso.
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