The fourth edition of the Crans Montana Forum,an International Conference on Global Urban Management on “Africa and South-South Cooperation,”was held in Dakhla (Morocco), March 15–20,2018.
Themeeting, held on March 17,had the participation of several African metropolises who met with their counterparts and shared their knowledge and expertise on urban development, urban planning, housing, mobility, waste and waste water treatment, sustainable development and urban security.
Theconference waschaired by Mr. Mohamed Boudra, President of the Moroccan Association of Presidents of Municipal Councils (AMPCC) andwas moderated by Mr. Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa).
Presidents from the local governments associations andPan-African Councils of UCLG Africatook part in theinternational conference, which addressed the issue of urban development: an unavoidable human evolution,given the ongoing rural exodusand a key challenge for Africatoday.
The Secretary General highlighted 4 key points when discussing the importance of involving local authorities in the implementation of urbanization projects in Africa:
- “It is imperative that cities areplanned, so that we know where we are going. We must have strategic thoughts. By planning cities, we must be concerned about the SDGs and the participation of people becausewhat you do for me without me, you do against me.”
- “We need to be concerned with how local authorities are funded. Both largeand small cities. We must leave no one behind following the leitmotiv of the international community.”
- “If we do not put in place institutional systems, legal systems and necessary human resources, it will remain in the field of discourse. Cooperation addressesthese exchanges both in the legislative and financial capacity-building field so that each local government gradually reaches a level of control of its development.”
- “The South/South cooperation is the future, because Africa is the future of the world. Africa will have 4 billion inhabitants in 2100:40% of mankind. It is now that Africa must be prepared to assume its responsibilities.”
ThePresident of AMPCC, Mr. Mohamed Boudra asserted, “We can say that the future of Africa will dependupon urban and youth policies. Thesepolicies need to be carried out in cooperation. Mayors and citizens must be at the center of all these policies: Not alone, but together as governments, ministries, experts and academics. We need to strengthen South/South cooperation. Money is better managed locally because it falls under the control of the population.”
Royal support to UCLG Africa and an invitation to the Africities 2018 Summit
During the opening ceremony of the forum, the royal speech was read by the President of Dakhla, demonstrating that, “Morocco’s option for advanced regionalization is extremely assertive. According to the Secretary General:
“It means that His Majesty wishes that the implementation of development in Moroccoshould start from its territories. It is a very strong political sign that also addresses the whole of Africa. Africa will develop from its territories.There is a strong delegation of African mayors and presidents of African regions present here in Dakhla. I am very pleased that this message is visible and I am honored that the King has mentioned our organization,UCLG Africa, in his speech. This year’s Crans Montana meeting marks a turning point for South/South cooperation, particularly inter-territory cooperation and advanced regionalization. Decentralization is about empowering people through the elect to manage their daily lives. Somewhere, Morocco is exemplary in this movement that will take time to succeed.” (Interview given to Medi1 TV).
The Secretary General also announced the organizing of the Forum of African Regions at the Africities summit in Marrakech from November 20-24,2018.
The summit, organized every 3 years by UCLG Africa, the oriental region of Morocco and the Association of the Regions of Morocco (Morocco) are to pilot the forum. The full interview of Mr. Mbassi is available here in French.
The President of the AMPCC, Mohamed Boudra, promised that the International Conference on Global Urban Management would continue at the Africities Summit in Marrakech.
The local elected women’s network of REFELA also took part in the session on March 16, 2018on women’s integration in the political, social and economic decision making processes. Mrs. Jacqueline Moustache Belle, former mayor of Victoria (Seychelles), shared her experience as a local elected woman and the REFELA vision that has been advocated since 2011.