United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) held its first annual retreat this month, March 1-3, at Hotel Farah (Rabat, Morocco) for its staff members.
Meetings were chaired by Mr. Khalifa Sall, President of UCLG Africa and Mr. Parks Tau, President of UCLG, in their capacity as head of the Ad Hoc Committee of the organization.
The two-day retreat brought staff together ito discuss the future of the organization, “ at the level of its operationalization in order to define how to build an attractive, efficient and effective organization”, said Mr. Khalifa Sall,.
During the first day, UCLG Africa’s staff discussed the evolution of the political environment and its influence on the agendas of African Local Governments with a presentation delivered by Mr. Pape More Ndiaye, former technical advisor, STC 8 of the African Union. Reporting on the issue of transfer of skills, Mr. Ndiaye highlighted some of the difficulties of evaluating skills transfers which he argued usually boils down to a division of powers between local and central Government in most African countries. The regional and Pan African environment is marked by the adoption of the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralization, Local Governance and Local Development, by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union in June 2014 in Malabo and the creation of a High Council of Local Authorities as an advisory body of the Africa Union. These two major changes made by the AUC was the initiative of UCLG Africa.
The evolution of local governments across Africa was addressed by Mr. Boubacar Bah, President of the Association of Municipalities of Mali,who identified three fundamental components:
– The need to convert into reality the disposition of the African Charter of Decentralization, which has not obtained the 15 ratifications necessary to make it a legal instrument;
– The creation of tools so that local authorities can become eligible for access to climate finance;
– The need for local authorities to be professional and invent a new pedagogy.
Ms. Claire Mandouze, UCLG Africa’s Special Advisor presented on the trends in Europe and their impact for African local governments. Local authorities that are now recognized as leading actors by the EU should be more engaged on migration issues that affect them first. “Europe and Africa are becoming inter-dependent to solve migration problems,” explained Ms. Mandouze.
UCLG Africa’s Special Advisor, Mr. Gustave Massiah, discussed changes in the global agenda and their impact on the African agenda. Referring to the demographic evolution of African cities, he emphasized the challenges the continent faced over the next 20 years, with a growing population reaching nearly 300 million people, of which 60% would be occupying cities slums. Amongst his recommendations, he pointed to the legacy of the previous 7 Africities Summits and the importance of its continuing role in offering solutions from the grassroots. ..
* Africa is not poor; it is impoverished
* Africa is not marginal; it is indispensable
* African local governments are the basis of sustainable development.
When asked what actions African local governments should undertake to cope with the global and African situation, Mr. Daby DIAGNE, special advisor of UCLG Africa suggested that local authorities expand partnerships with civil society and the private sector.
The second day of the retreat was dedicated to a presentation on the methodology of the institutional assessment of UCLG Africa by the firm KPMG.
M Parks Tau, president of UCLG expressed his pleasure in participating in the retreat and stressed the importance of strengthening the capacity of local authorities stating, “I appreciate all the support that I continue to receive at UCLG Africa. The challenge for local authorities is to be at the forefront of International agendas.”