From 6 to 11 December 2021, the 5th edition of the African Forum of Territorial Managers and Training Institutes targeting Local Governments (FAMI 5) was held at the Administrative and Cultural Complex MOHAMMED VI in Marrakech, Morocco.
This Forum was organized at the initiative of UCLG Africa through its African Local Government Academy (ALGA), in partnership with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (UN-DESA)/Division of Public Institutions and Digital Governance (DIPDG), the Directorate-General of Territorial Collectivities (DGCT) of the Ministry of the Interior of Morocco, the Council of the Region of Marrakech-Safi , the Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakech, the Association of Regions of Morocco (ARM), the Moroccan Association of Presidents of Councils of Prefectures and Provinces (AMPCPP) and the Moroccan Association of Presidents of Communal Councils (AMPCC), with the collaboration of the French Agency ADEME, Metropolis, ICESCO, and the Alliance for Smart Cities, IEEE.
Participants took part to the work of the FAMI in hybrid format, face-to-face, or through Zoom platform and Facebook Page of UCLG-Africa for participants who were unable to make it to Marrakech due to the travel restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the 6 days of work, the Forum brought together more than 5.665 participants (in person or virtual) from 67 countries, including 46 African countries.
The theme of the Forum was: “The Digital and Smart Transformation of Local Africa: Time to Act is Now!!!“.
The Forum was opened with speeches from : Ms. Marie Christine Mba Ndutume, President of UCLG Africa, Mayor of Libreville, Ms. Zoubida Rouijel, Vice-President of the Council of the Marrakech-Safi Region, Moulay Lhassan Hbid, President of the Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakech, Mr. Saad Benmbarek, President of the Moroccan Association of Presidents of Prefectural and Provincial Councils (AMPCPP), Mr. Mohamed Boudra, President of the Moroccan Association of Presidents of Communal Councils (AMPCC) and Honorary President of UCLG, Dr. John Mary Kauzya, Representative of UN-DESA/DPIDG, followed by several messages of Solidarity, Friendship and Support from UCLG Africa Partners.
More than 100 experiences and initiatives relating to the Digital World and Smart Cities in Africa and around the world were presented during the 5th plenary sessions and the 14 workshops held during the Forum.
A multitude of other UCLG Africa Partners have supported this activity, in particular through the organization of Workshops and Webinars, the mobilization of speakers and participants, or the sharing and dissemination of training Modules on the Digital World and e-learning.
In their opening remarks, the Organizers underlined the requirement for, and urgency of, digital transformation and the place to be given to Local and Regional Governments in achieving this vision.
Faced with the observation that digital transformation is inevitable, participants were invited to reflect during the work on how to lay the groundwork for a vision and trajectory for a Digital transformation or transition that is at the service of populations, citizens, territories, and well-defined policies.
Four (4) key messages are to be retained from FAMI 5:
- There are more than 3 billion people in the world who are not connected to the Internet, and most of them are in Africa where there is a huge need for connectivity infrastructure without which Africa’s entry into the digital era risks being strongly delayed. Not to mention the prerequisite of access to energy.
- Infrastructure is not enough. The digital transformation needs talents without which it will not happen. The need for such talents in Africa is estimated at nearly 500,000 people in the next 3 years. This is a huge challenge for the cities and territories of Africa and a great opportunity for youth employment, provided that the right methods and the right tools are found and that the appropriate frameworks are put in place to promote the funding of initiatives in this area.
- Digital technologies must be approached as a tool in the service of a policy. This policy must be mindful of inclusiveness, sustainability, ethics, and humanity to be truly at the service of populations.
- Digital technologies must in particular be used to improve : knowledge of the functioning, planning and management of cities and territories through the collection of localized data ; the provision of services to populations, local democracy and citizen participation in the management of public affairs through the establishment of e-governance platforms ; the collection of own resources thanks to a better inventory of tax bases ; the promotion of the local economy, and the creation of economic activities and jobs, in particular for women and young people, among others.
The discussions held during the work led to the following recommendations:
- The Need to define a roadmap for the implementation of digital transformation strategies for local governments in Africa taking into account their specific context, the state of their infrastructure, the means at their disposal, their vision, and the priorities of their policies, etc.
- Identify, master, and adapt standards of excellence / indicators / digital standards and adapt them to the specific context of local Africa,
- Identify all the actors and stakeholders by collaborating with the best ones who have the expertise, knowledge, and methodology,
- Develop digital strategies and local action plans to implement these strategies with budgets and timetables,
- Carry out pilot experiences in the conduct of digital transformation strategies in cities and voluntary local authorities,
- Set up awareness-raising, training and capacity-building programs for local elected officials and territorial managers of cities and territories in Africa,
- Ask the UCLG Africa Secretariat to work on the development of an action program to support the digital transformation of cities and local governments in Africa to be submitted to the approval of UCLG Africa bodies during their meetings at the 9th edition of the Africities Summit in Kisumu from May 17 to 21, 2022, and the establishment of an African Network of Smart Cities and Territories (African Smart Cities) bringing together the cities and territories of Africa engaged in digital transformation.
In addition to the work of the FAMI 5 proper, 4 meetings were held:
- The meeting of Permanent Secretaries / Executive Directors of National Associations of Local Governments of Africa, moderated by Morris Mbolela ( Zambia) , Deputy Secretary General of UCLG Africa, which resulted in the creation of the African Network of Secretaries General of local authorities whose constitutive meeting will be held on the occasion of the Africities Summit in Kisumu. To this end, a provisional Committee has been appointed to prepare these meetings;
- The meeting of Directors / Officers in Charge of International Relations of Local and Regional Governments and of Decentralized Cooperation , moderated by Charles Patsika (Zimbabwe), Advisor at the Office of the Secretary General of UCLG Africa, in charge of decentralized cooperation;
- The meeting of the Network of Human Resources Managers of Local and Regional Governments (HR-Net) moderated by Albertina Tivane (Mozambique), President of the HR-Net Network;
- The 6th meeting of ALGA’s Academic Board of UCLG Africa, moderated by Dr. Najat Zarrouk (Morocco), Director of Development and of the African Local Government Academy (ALGA) within UCLG Africa.
The participants finally had the opportunity to discover a part of the Cultural Heritage of the Region through 4 cultural excursions to the cities of Marrakech and Essaouira.
– At the Headquarters of the Prefectural Council of Marrakech where the participants were welcomed by Ms. Jamila Afif, President of the Prefectural Council;
– At the Mohammed VI Water Museum of Habous where the participants were received by Dr Almandour Abdelnnebi, Director of this Museum;
– A visit to the monuments of the City of Marrakech, organized by the Council of the Marrakech-Safi Region;
– A visit to the City of Essaouira, organized by the Governor of the Province of Essaouira and the President of the Provincial Council of Essaouira.
At the end of the work of FAMI5_2021, a Message of Gratitude and Thanks was sent by the participants to the High Attention of His Majesty King Mohammed VI of the Kingdom of Morocco – May God Bless him –; a Message read on behalf of the participants by Mr Mohammed Rhazi, President of the Prefectural Council of the City of Mohammedia.
The participants were invited to attend the next edition of the FAMI Forum (FAMI6) within a year in another region of Morocco.
About UCLG Africa
United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) is the Pan-African Organization made up of 54 National and Regional Associations of Local and Regional Governments from the five (5) Regions of Africa (Center, East, North, Southern and West). The Organization’s Headquarters are located at 22, Rue Essaadyine, Arrondissement de Hassan, Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, Postal Code 10020, where UCLG Africa enjoys Diplomatic Status as an International Pan-African Organization. UCLG Africa is also the regional chapter for Africa of the world organization of local governments, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).
For further information, please contact:
Gaëlle Yomi: Phone: + 212 610 56 71 45
UCLG Africa website: www.uclga.org