Political and technical visit of a delegation from the Provincial Council of Tiznit, the Moroccan Ministry of the Interior and UCLG Africa to Shomolu–Bariga City, Lagos State, Nigeria
From August 30 to September 03, 2023, as part of the partnership and decentralized cooperation project between the Tiznit Provincial Council (TPC) of Morocco and the City of Shomolu-Bariga (SBC), Lagos State, Nigeria, on “Promoting Social, Inclusive and Resilient Governance through the Promotion of Solidarity Tourism”, a delegation led by the Honorable Chaikhbella Mohamed, President of the CPT, made a political visit to Shomolu-Bariga at the invitation of the Honorable Alabi Kolade David, President of the National Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and Chairman of Bariga Local Council. This visit follows that made by the Chairman to Tiznit in October 2022 and the visit of the Technical Committee to SBC in June 2023.
This project was made possible by the African Support Fund for International Decentralized Cooperation (FACDI), a mechanism set up by the Kingdom of Morocco’s Ministry of the Interior to contribute to the socio-economic development of African local authorities, supported and facilitated by UCLG Africa.
The delegation comprised : Mr. Chaikhbella Mohamed, President of the Provincial Council of Tiznit, Morocco, Head of Delegation; Mr. Ouchahid Brahim, President of the Commune Tafraout, Morocco; Mr. Chehmat Yassir, Vice-president of the Tiznit Provincial Council, Morocco ; Mrs. Amsaou Aziza, Vice-president of the Tiznit Provincial Council, Morocco ; Mr. Akoubaye Ahmed, Member of the Tiznit Provincial Council, Morocco ; Mr. Lachguer Brahim, Member of the Tiznit Provincial Council, Morocco ; Mr. MIdboujemaa Lahoucine, Member of the Provincial Council of Tiznit, Morocco; Mr. Mostafa Ameur, Programme Officer and FACDI Manager, Ministry of the Interior, General Directorate of Local Authorities (DGCT), Morocco; Dr. Najat Zarrouk, Director of Development, Knowledge Management and ALGA Academy of UCLG Africa and Mr. Koffi Abalo, Support Staff UCLG Africa/ALGA.
This project, which is being carried out entirely in Shomolu-Bariga, aims to promote social, inclusive and resilient governance, through ecotourism and the promotion of culture and heritage, thus enabling the creation of 150 direct jobs and over 2,000 indirect jobs, through the establishment of fifteen (15) new projects, in the form of cooperatives, and mainly led by women and young people.
As part of the implementation of this Project, a technical exploration mission was carried out by Moroccan experts from June 16 to 21, 2023, in Shomolu-Bariga, Nigeria, to assess immediate and priority needs and opportunities in the field of solidarity tourism. The mission was also an opportunity to meet all local players and stakeholders, such as local authorities, businesses and NGOs, to gain a better understanding of projects already carried out in the field of solidarity tourism, and to assess how the Moroccan experience could be put to good use in this project.
The two partners have agreed to support project leaders in the five (5) following areas:
-Textiles and traditional local clothing;
-Beadwork, jewelry and local souvenirs;
-Embroidery, decorative arts and weaving;
-Local activities and cultural mediation.
The mission also enabled the identification of training needs to strengthen the capacities of the entrepreneurs identified, notably in project set-up, marketing and sales techniques, entrepreneurial management, financial set-up and business plan, digital marketing and techniques for enhancing the value of local products.
On Thursday August 31, 2023, the delegation was welcomed at the Shomolu-Bariga Council headquarters by the Honorable Alabi Kolade David, and all the members of his Council. On behalf of the Shomolu Council, he extended a warm welcome and fraternal greetings to the Moroccan Delegation and spoke of the strong and historic ties that unite the two Countries.
He paid a warm tribute to His Majesty King Mohamed VI for having set up the FACDI, an initiative designed to promote South-South and triangular cooperation. For the Honorable Kolade, this initiative is one of a kind, breaking down the language barrier imposed by the West, which prevents the African continent from uniting and developing. He added that this partnership project is win-win insofar as Morocco and Nigeria share what they have, for the well-being of Africans. The Shomolu-Bariga local council will spare no effort to complete the project on time (by February 2024), with a view to considering other themes for the upcoming 4th FACDI call for expressions of interest.
For Professor Johnson Falade, Special Advisor to UCLG Africa and the ALGON Association (Nigeria), the Shomolu-Bariga region is rich in cultural heritage, from which many of Nigeria’s leading film actors originate. The region’s ancestral art and know-how are a perfect match for the project’s theme.
On behalf of the delegation, the Honorable Mohamed Chaikhbella thanked the highest authorities of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Nigeria for their warm welcome. For him, this partnership reinforces the strategies linking these two countries, through the strengthening of a partnership between local players, solidarity tourism associations and cooperatives, and the various institutions involved. He expressed his deep gratitude to His Majesty King Mohammed VI for having set up the FACDI mechanism, which facilitates South-South cooperation and has become one of the main pillars of Moroccan foreign policy. He also thanked the Moroccan Ministry of the Interior and UCLG Africa through its ALGA Academy for their unfailing support in implementing the project.
Mr. Ameur, Programme Officer and FACDI Manager at the DGCT of the Kingdom of Morocco’s Ministry of the Interior, thanked the two Presidents and UCLG Africa for taking this partnership project on board. Dr. Najat Zarrouk, Director of Development, Knowledge Management and the ALGA Academy of UCLG Africa, recalled in her speech the importance of partnership and decentralized cooperation in the Vision and Action Plan of UCLG Africa, starting from the role they can play in promoting Peace, Solidarity and Sustainable Development in Africa. She also highlighted the main areas of UCLG Africa’s roadmap to support, facilitate and help make a success of the Partnership between African Local Authorities, notably through advocacy, training and capacity building, technical assistance, resource mobilization, documentation and capitalization.
Friday September 1st, 2023, was entirely devoted to the meeting of the project’s Monitoring Committee, made up of the heads of Shomolu-Bariga’s technical departments. The two presidents exchanged gifts and souvenirs to strengthen the bonds of solidarity, friendship and fraternity, and above all to enhance the cultural heritage of the town of Shomolu-Bariga and the Provincial Council of Tiznit.
Finally, they expressed their deep gratitude to His Excellency Bola Tinubu, President of the Federal State of Nigeria, and to His Majesty King Mohammed VI, for their commitment to supporting the unification and sustainable development of the African Continent and the Africa We Want. They also thanked the Ministry of the Interior of the Kingdom of Morocco for piloting the FACDI, and UCLG Africa and its ALGA Academy for their support and technical assistance to African local authorities involved in partnership and decentralized cooperation projects.