Graduation of the first French-speaking class of the Executive Master’s in Management of African Cities (MEMVA), dubbed “Alioune Badiane Class”

The first Francophone class of the Executive Master’s in Management of African Cities (MEMVA) graduated on Saturday January 27, 2024, from Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane. The ceremony was organized by the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), through its African Local Governments Academy (ALGA), and Al Akhawayn University of Ifrane (AUI), with the participation of all their partners.

Held in the pure tradition of American universities, this first class from 18 French-speaking countries has been dubbed the “Alioune Badiane Class”. The Secretary General of UCLG Africa, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, outlined the career of this great champion of the cause of African cities and communities. “Alioune Badiane was the number 3 of UN-Habitat. UN-Habitat is the United Nations Organization for the Promotion of cities and habitat. Alioune Badiane was a Senegalese citizen, he was director of planning for the city of Dakar. He was at our side as a high-level professional. He trained in Dakar, then in Laval, then in Colombia. Alioune Badiane was a professional steeped in the conviction that it is in Africa that Africans will find their solutions, but by borrowing from the enormous pool of international knowledge. Alioune Badiane was someone who connected all parts of the world. For example, he initiated relations with China. He was the creator of the World Urban Forum. Alioune Badiane helped UCLG Africa organize the Africities Summits, the largest platform for dialogue on local governance in Africa. Alioune Badiane has built partnerships, including within the framework of the African Support Fund for International Decentralized Cooperation (FACDI), between the city of Rabat (Morocco) and the city of Dakar (Senegal). Alioune Badiane deserves to have the first Francophone class of the Executive Master’s in Management of African Cities (MEMVA) bear his name” concluded Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi.

Eighteen (18) graduates (6 women and 12 men) from 8 French-speaking countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger and Senegal) benefited from this City Management Training Program, from 2022 to 2023. The Training Program was delivered online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It offered scholarships under the African Support Fund for International Decentralized Cooperation (FACDI), set up in 2020 by the Kingdom of Morocco through the Ministry of the Interior, Directorate General of Territorial Collectivities (DGCT). The FACDI funded 60% of the scholarships, with three (3) Moroccan Regions – Fès-Meknès Region, Rabat-Salé-Kénitra Region and Souss-Massa Region – sponsoring 30% of the scholarship and the Class’s original cities 10%. Three other local authorities, from Morocco (Ifrane), Niger (Niamey) and Senegal (Dakar), mobilized 4 Territorial Managers and sponsored their training.

The graduation ceremony was punctuated by speeches from His Excellency Dr. Christopher Taylor, Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Al Akhawayn University, and Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa.

Mr. Moussaid Hajaj, Representative of the City of Benguerir, drew the image of an African city that is facing all kinds of challenges, but is trying to overcome them through transformational leadership, participation, inclusion, effective governance, strategic planning, digital transformation, mobilization of partnerships, etc…

Afterwards, all the Partners involved in the preparation and implementation of this Program gave testimonials, including:

Dr. Najat Zarrouk, Director of Development, Knowledge Management and ALGA at UCLG Africa, recalled the context of this program, conceived at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and delivered remotely, the pedagogical content of the training and the faculty (some 60 contributors) who provided training and capacity-building, including more than a dozen trainers from the General Treasury of the Kingdom of Morocco. She also expressed the wish that several other African local authorities would enroll their staff in the MEMVA program and take charge of the training of their Territorial Managers, as was the case for the cities of Dakar, Ifrane and Niamey.

Dr. Abdelkrim Marzouk, Dean of Continuing Education (EECI), AUI, who recalled that the graduates are now the architects of their own destiny, as the program has enabled them to build their capacities and equip themselves to better contribute to the management of their cities and territories.

Mr. Mustapha Ameur from the Ministry of the Interior, DGCT, who pleaded for graduates to honor their superiors and serve local populations by improving their living conditions.

Hon. Mrs. Halima El-Zoumi, Vice-President of the Fès-Meknes Regional Council,

Hon. Mrs. Nadia Rahmani, Vice-President of the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra Regional Council.

At the graduation ceremony, Dr. Christopher Taylor, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Al Akhawayn University, congratulated the graduates on their achievements. “You have done an excellent job. Your experience in Morocco during the study tour will enable you to go back to your countries with new ideas and improve the public service delivered by cities and local authorities in Africa”.

The speech of the “Alioune Badiane Class” was read by Mrs. Berthe Lohore, Director of Social, Cultural and Human Development Affairs at the Regional Council of Grands Ponts, Côte d’Ivoire, who underlined: “We can be proud of this diploma and this training which gives us important assets for our professional life, which enables us from now on to look at our communities not as zones of perpetual assistance but as territories endowed with incredible human and natural resources which only ask to be better exploited. This training has enabled us to acquire analytical skills to tackle the problems of urban governance and public service delivery. We have the noble mission of creating and shaping the future of African cities”. On behalf of the Class, she also expressed deep gratitude to His Majesty King Mohammed VI – May God Assist Him – for his foresight and exemplary leadership.

Prior to the Graduation Ceremony, the Class enjoyed a Study Tour of Morocco from January 22 to 26, 2024 in the three regions that had sponsored them. The class was divided into 3 groups, and each group visited one of the three Regions (Rabat-Salé-Kénitra ; Souss-Massa and Fès-Meknès) to discover and be inspired by the Moroccan model of Decentralization, Advanced Regionalization, Local Governance and Territorial Development, including the ecosystem of this model.

As a reminder, the Executive Master’s Program in Management of African Cities (MEMVA) is part of the support for the realization of the Sustainable Development Agenda (The World We Want), the African Union’s Agenda 2063 (The Africa We Want), in particular Aspiration 1: “A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and Sustainable Development” and Pillar 2 of UCLG Africa’s Strategic Plan (2021-2030) (known as the Governance Program, Advocacy, for Decentralized Development in Africa, or GADDEPA 2.0) focusing on investment in Human Capital and Capacity Building for Local Authorities and their National Associations.

A second MEMVA program targeting English-speaking countries will be launched starting in the 1st semester of 2024, in partnership with Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, for the benefit of 27 FACDI scholars, while a third French-speaking class will be mobilized under the 4th FACDI call for projects.

For more information, please contact: Gaëlle Yomi: Tél : + 212 610 56 71 45 E-mail :

About UCLG Africa

United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) is the umbrella organization of local authorities in Africa whose founding congress took place in 2005 in the city of Tshwane, South Africa. UCLG Africa stems from the unification of three continental groupings of local governments following the official language inherited from the colonial period, namely: the African Union of Local Authorities (AULA), mainly English-speaking; the Union of African Cities (UVA), essentially French-speaking; and the Africa chapter of the União das Cidades e Capitais Lusófonas Africanas, Americanas e Asiáticas (UCCLA), mainly Portuguese-speaking. UCLG Africa currently brings together the 51 national

associations of local governments operating in Africa as well as 2,000 cities and territories with more than 100,000 inhabitants. Through its members, UCLG Africa represents more than 350 million African citizens. Founding member of the world organization of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), UCLG Africa is its regional chapter for Africa. The organization aims to promote decentralized governance, strengthen the capacities of local governments and defend the interests of African cities and local authorities. It advocates for sustainable urban development, improved local service delivery and the empowerment of local communities. –

About Al Akhawayn University (AUI)

Founded in 1993 by Royal Dahir (decree), Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane opened its doors to students in January 1995. Based on the principles of diversity and an international outlook, the university’s mission is driven by values of human solidarity and tolerance. Al Akhawayn has modeled its administrative, pedagogical, and academic organization on the American university system, and English is the language of instruction. Still, in its infancy, the university has already developed a national and international reputation for its unique identity and potential. Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane is an independent, public, not-for-profit, coeducational, Moroccan university committed to educating future citizen-leaders of Morocco and the world through a globally oriented, English -language, liberal arts curriculum based on the American system. The University enhances Morocco and engages the world through leading-edge educational and research programs, including continuing and executive education upholds the highest academic and ethical standards and promotes equity and social responsibility. NEASC is a globally recognized standard of Excellence. NEASC Accreditation attests that AUI is a university of high quality and integrity.