30th Session of the Executive Committee and 27th session of the Pan-African Council of UCLG Africa in Lagos (Nigeria)

On 6 and 7 November 2023, the 30th session of the Executive Committee and the 27th session of the Pan-African Council of UCLG Africa was held in Lagos, Nigeria. The meetings were under the presidency of Mrs. Fatimetou Abdel Malick, President of the Nouakchott Region and President of UCLG Africa.

The session of the Pan-African Council opened with an official ceremony attended by Mr. Oluwaseun Osiyeme, the Commissioner for Transportation, and Mrs. Cecilia Bolaji Dada, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, representing the Governor of Lagos State.

In her address, the UCLG Africa President Mrs. Fatimetou Abdel Malick thanked ALGON President Mr. David Alabi Kolade and the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) for their hospitality and for agreeing to host the statutory meetings in Lagos. She recalled that these meetings are high points on the political agenda of UCLG Africa, because they embody the determination of its members to promote the unity and development of their continent, starting from its cities and territories. After giving a brief reminder of the key events to which the organization participated in 2023, strengthening UCLG Africa’s position and demonstrating its major role played in the implementation of the United Nations’ Climate Agenda and 2030 Agenda, she welcomed the fact that UCLG Africa’s voice is increasingly audible at pan-African and international levels.

The President launched an appeal to the members of the Pan-African Council, noting that “in a period marked by numerous geopolitical crises, and where international relations are experiencing difficulties that are even calling multilateralism into question, we have a duty to be guardians and promoters of a message of peace and harmony, not only in Africa but throughout the world. We must, and we can”. The President concluded her speech by calling for African solidarity to lay a more solid foundation for a renewal of multilateralism based on decentralized cooperation and city and territory diplomacy.

Representing Lagos State, Mrs. Bolaji Dada, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, and Mr. Oluwaseun Osiyeme, Commissioner for Transport, welcomed the participants and wished them fruitful deliberations.

On behalf of the 774 local governments of Nigeria, the people of Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole, Mr. David Alabi Kolade, Chairman of ALGON, extended a warm welcome to all the members of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) gathered in Ikeja, Lagos State. He recalled that United Cities and Local Governments of Africa is an example of collaboration and cooperation, to promote sustainable urban development across the African continent. He asked the members present not to forget that they are not only the representatives of their respective cities, but also the architects of Africa’s urban future.

The 30th session of the Executive Committee (EXCO) focused on the adoption of the UCLG Africa 2024 work plan and budget.  The EXCO approved the 2024 Work Plan and Budget of the organization and gave discharge to the Secretary General for its execution.

The members of the Committee  also discussed the preparation of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28), the annual summit of the UNFCCC’s decision-making body (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), scheduled on November 30 to December 12, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

UCLG Africa’s expectations for COP28 focus on issues related to the access of local authorities to the new Loss and Damage Fund and the establishment of an emergency fund for African local government representative organizations to support local authorities in Africa declared in a state of climate disaster. The United States is supportive of this proposal; efforts are ongoing to garner support from African countries, European countries and the BRICS nations.

The UCLG Africa Pavilion in the Blue Zone of COP28 will be the rallying point for all African local authorities. Various side events prepared by UCLG Africa and its partners will be organized there. The Pavilion will also serve as a venue for consultations and bilateral meetings. Therefore, the management of its use must be handled very professionally.

The members of the EXCO and the Pan-African Council where also informed about the activities of the General Secretariat since the 29th session of the Executive Committee in June 2023 in Kisumu, Kenya.

UCLG Africa networks


The Network for Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA) continued to establish itself with the installation in February 2023 by President Mrs. Rohey Malick Lowe, Mayor of Banjul and President of REFELA, of REFELA’s national chapter in Benin. A meeting was organized between the Mayor of New York, Mr. Eric Adams, and REFELA board members. A partnership project between the City of New York and REFELA is currently under discussion following this meeting.


The secretariat has initiated the preparation of a guide for the establishment of  the Network of  Young Local Elected Officials of Africa (YELO) country chapters, notably YELO-Benin, YELO-Congo, YELO-Gabon, YELO-Gambia and YELO-Malawi.


The secretariat signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) in support of  the Forum of Regions of Africa (FORAF): the first with Afreximbank; and the second with the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF). The secretariat also played a major role in mobilizing African regions to participate in the third edition of the African Sub-Sovereign Government Network (AfSNet) meeting, scheduled for November 13-17, 2023 in Cairo, Egypt.

Pillar 1: Advocacy and Mobilization for Decentralization and Local Authorities

Under this chapter, the Secretariat has carried out activities related to the localization of global agendas, positioning UCLG Africa within the ecosystem of African institutions responsible for climate management, and ensuring the participation of UCLG Africa in platforms where the voice of African local authorities needs to be heard. From September 4 to 8, UCLG Africa participated in the African Climate Summit in preparation for COP28. His Excellency William Samoei Ruto, President of Kenya, confirmed the formal recognition of UCLG Africa as the implementing entity of the BCRUP Initiative. From September 15 to 17, in New York, USA, UCLG Africa participated in the Midterm Review Summit on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. During this summit, an Advisory Group for the United Nations Secretary General on local and regional governments was established, and Mrs. Fatimetou Abdel Malick, President of UCLG Africa, had the honor of being appointed co-chair of the Advisory Group. On September 18, 2023, UCLG Africa organized the first U.S.-Africa Municipal and Sub-sovereign Investment Forum in New York.

Pillar 2. Knowledge management and capacity building for local authorities and national associations

Under this chapter, the General Secretariat, through its African Local Governments Academy (ALGA), continues the deployment of the Executive Master in African City Management, which includes the launch of the English-speaking cycle in September. The selected candidates for this Master’s program come from the following countries: Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Madagascar, Eswatini, and Mauritania. The Secretary General announced the upcoming organization of the FAMI, from November 20 to 26, 2023, in El Jadida. The 7th edition of FAMI will focus on “The Contribution of Local and Regional Governments to the Achievement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).” He strongly invited members to participate massively in the event.

Pillar 3. Technical assistance to local authorities and national associations for project development, fund-raising and implementation

Support for the preparation of decentralized cooperation projects

UCLG Africa continues to provide assistance to its members in preparing projects to be submitted to the International Decentralized Cooperation Support Fund (FACDI) of the Moroccan Ministry of the Interior. The applications are open since November 1, 2023.

Access to climate finance

Regarding the implementation of the climate agenda at the level of cities and territories, in its role as an implementing partner of the Green Climate Fund, the general secretariat has been able to mobilize funds from the Readiness program of the Green Climate Fund for the benefit of local authorities of the member states of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). The support aims to help them prepare climate-energy projects eligible for climate finance, particularly the Green Climate Fund. UCLG Africa is also supporting the territorialization of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in the Souss-Massa region of Morocco, in accordance with the Paris Agreement. This is part of the Readiness Program funded by the Green Climate Fund, and its implementation is set to conclude in March 2024.

Access to investment and financial markets

The Secretariat has continued its work on the establishment of the Africa Territorial Trade and Investment Agency (ATIA). This work involves mobilizing the 100 founding members of the cooperative society of local authorities, which brings together local authorities willing to contribute €100,000 each to achieve 51% of the capital of ATIA. This ensures that the tool is politically under the responsibility of the leaders of local authorities on the continent. The goal is to have the cooperative society of ATIA in place by the end of 2024. The process also involves training of the African cities chief financial officers on access of African local authorities to investment and the capital markets. A first training cycle was organized in 2022-2023 with the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Investment Bank (EIB), DBSA, GIZ, and the European Commission.

Territorial Coaching

Territorial Coaching is an initiative set up to support countries wishing to move from centralized to decentralized management of public affairs. It was tested for the very first time in the Oriental Region of Morocco, where its positive results have resulted in a strong demand for cooperation on this subject with the Oriental Region’s partner regions in other African countries as well as in other parts of Morocco. To expedite the implementation of this program, a technical committee has been established alongside the steering committee of the Territorial Coaching program to facilitate the implementation of actions agreed upon by the steering committee. It includes representatives from UCLG Africa, the Oriental Region Council, and the Oriental Development Agency.

African Capital of Culture

In 2018, members of UCLG Africa gathered at the Africities Summit in Marrakech, Morocco, decided to create the African Capitals of Culture program to signify their commitment to making culture the fourth pillar of sustainable development alongside the economic, social, and environmental pillars. The program aims to celebrate, every two years, an African city declared as the African Capital of Culture through a competitive application process. Rabat was selected to be the African Capital of Culture for the years 2022-2023. One of the tangible outcomes of the celebration of Rabat as the African Capital of Culture is the adoption of the “Copyright Friendly” label aimed at involving African local authorities in the protection of intellectual property and copyright to ensure fair compensation the creators of cultural and artistic works. The Secretariat of UCLG Africa has been tasked with taking the lead in registering this label with institutions and organizations responsible for intellectual property protection

A second call for expressions of interest to become the African Capital of Culture was launched in July 2023. Four applications were submitted, including three individual applications: Lagos, Nigeria; Kigali, Rwanda; Maputo, Mozambique; and one joint application: Brazzaville, Congo; and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The final decision is expected no later than the end of November 2023.

The Executive Committee congratulated the General Secretariat for the progress made by UCLG Africa in 2023. This progress is evident in the organization’s recognition and representativity, including the achievement of Delivery Partner status for the Green Climate Fund; hosting the Technical Support Unit for the Africa Adaptation Initiative (TSU-AAI); serving as the Secretariat for the Decent Life Initiative in Africa (Hayat Karima Africa) led by the government of Egypt; being a partner in the implementation of the Building Climate Resilience for the Urban Poor Initiative (BCRUP) in Africa, led by the government of Kenya; and representing African local government authorities on the Platform for the Implementation of Decisions of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN).

Hon. Lagos State Govenor Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu receives UCLG Africa members

On 6 November, the Governor of Lagos, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, received the members of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa and their President, Mrs. Fatimetou Abdel Malick, at the Lagos State House, Ikeja. They were accompanied by former Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Kayode Fayemi and the Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Hon. Mr. David Alabi Kolade.

“Africa will take its rightful place in the world when the people of the continent are united, have a shared vision and a shared purpose… The only opportunity of the world remaining is in Africa. This is the time in which everything that we require, we need to harness. And we need to bridge it amongst ourselves. Nobody is going to help us. Nobody is going to do it for us. It is our opportunity to ensure that we have a common purpose. And in the face of whatever it is that can divide us, we must find a way to unite” said Governor Sanwo-Olu, before commending UCLG Africa for its work and values.