At the invitation of the Ministry of Local Development of the Arab Republic of Egypt, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) held its first statutory meetings on 17 and 18 June 2019 at the Conrad Hotel in Cairo, Egypt, after the organization’s general assembly held in Marrakesh, Morocco, on 23 November 2018.
The statutory meetings of UCLG Africa included the first meeting of the Bureau of Women Elected and Leaders of Local and Subnational Governments in Africa (REFELA); and the 20th session of the Executive Committee of UCLGA Africa.
These meetings were officially opened by General Mahmoud Shaarawy, Minister of Local Development of Egypt, in the presence of General Khaled Abdel Aal, Governor of the Governorate of Cairo, and Mr Mohamed Boudra, Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the North Africa region.
The REFELA Bureau meeting reviewed and adopted the REFELA Action Plan for the period 2019-2021, focusing on its three main campaigns: the African Cities without Children on the Street Campaign; the African Cities with Zero Tolerance to All Forms of Violence against Women and Girls Campaign; and the African Cities Campaign for Women’s Economic Empowerment.
The meeting also elected a new President of REFELA in the person of Mrs Dao Macoura, Mayor of Foumbolo in Côte d’Ivoire, and Vice-President of REFELA for the West African region. Ms Macoura replaces Ms Célestine KETCHA, who has been appointed Minister of the Government of the Republic of Cameroon. The REFELA Bureau meeting also elected Mrs Mboula, épse Essame Elise Henriette, Mayor of Nkongsamba 3 Municipal District and President of the REFELA National Section in Cameroon, REFELA Vice-President for the Central African region.
The REFELA Bureau then congratulated and installed the REFELA national section in Egypt and its President, Mrs Manal Awad Mikhail, Governor, Governorate of Damietta (Egypt).
The REFELA Bureau also welcomed the proposal to include the members of the REFELA Bureau among the African candidates to be elected to the UCLG World Council at the next UCLG World Congress scheduled for 11-15 November 2019 in Durban, South Africa; and also to include the REFELA President among the African candidates to sit on the UCLG World Executive Bureau.
At the opening of the 20th session of the Executive Committee of UCLG Africa, the members first received the profession of faith from Mr Léandre Nzue, who, in his capacity as newly elected Mayor of Libreville, was installed as the new President of UCLG Africa for the period 2019 to 2021, and therefore chaired this 20th session of the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee examined the organization’s financial reports, including the execution of the budget and the audited accounts for the 2018 financial year. He also invited members to honor their membership dues obligations in order to strengthen the organization and enable it to implement its action plan. At the end of these deliberations, the members of the Executive Committee approved the accounts and discharged the Secretary General for the management of the 2018 financial year.
The members of the Executive Committee then discussed the issue of UCLG Africa’s regional offices. The Secretary General informed that with the establishment of the North Africa Regional Office (NARO) in Cairo, scheduled to open on 19 June 2019, UCLG Africa should have completed the establishment of its regional offices by the end of 2019 as initially planned; except that the Regional Office for the Central African Region, which was supposed to be operational in Yaoundé, Cameroon, since 2015, has still not materialized despite several reminders.
The members of the Executive Committee appreciated Egypt’s offer to host the North Africa Regional Office (NARO) and welcomed the proposal to inaugurate the North Africa Regional Office (NARO) on 19 June 2019.
In order to comply with the initial plan to complete the establishment of the regional offices by the end of 2019, the President proposed that the Executive Committee consider the offer of the city of Libreville to host the Regional Office for Central Africa (CARO). This proposal was unanimously approved by the Executive Committee. The UCLG Africa Regional Office for Central Africa will now be established in Libreville, Gabon, with the responsibility for the Secretary General of UCLG Africa to take the necessary steps with the Gabonese authorities to formalize and implement this decision as soon as possible.
The members of the Executive Committee then discussed two other important issues: first, the organization of the next Africities Summit to be held in 2021 in Kisumu, Kenya; and Africa’s representation in the bodies of the World Organization of UCLG for the period 2020-2022.
Regarding Africities 2021, the Governor of Kisumu County, speaking on behalf of the Kenyan delegation led by the Minister of Devolution, presented the state of preparation of the 9th edition of the Africities Summit. The Committee welcomed the progress made so far in the preparations and the offer made by the President of the AMPCC of Morocco to assist the various Kenyan teams to better prepare for the Summit if they so wish.
With regard to Africa’s representation in UCLG’s World bodies, and in accordance with the requirement that, to be eligible, any list of candidates for UCLG bodies must have at least 30 per cent women, the Executive Committee has nominated 45 candidates from Africa to sit on the UCLG World Council, and 15 candidates from Africa to sit on the UCLG World Executive Board.
The Executive Committee then deliberated on the representation of Africa at the level of the UCLG Presidency, first for the nomination of Africa’s candidate for the post of Vice President Africa of UCLG, and for the merits for Africa to stand for the post of World President of UCLG. This discussion follows the appointment of the current President of UCLG, Mr. Parks Tau as Deputy Minister in the Government of South Africa, which means that he can no longer run for a second term as World President of UCLG. However, the custom observed so far in UCLG management is that each region presides over UCLG for two successive terms. On the basis of the observed track record, the Executive Committee decided that Africa would nominate a candidate for the position of UCLG World President at the next UCLG World Congress scheduled for 11-15 November 2019 in Durban, South Africa. Consultations will continue between members to agree on the name of the African candidate for the position of Vice-President Africa of UCLG, and on the name of the African candidate for the position of World President of UCLG. These consultations should be completed in the next few weeks and no later than 15 July 2019.
Finally, the members of the Executive Committee welcomed the establishment of the Africa Territorial Agency, a financial institution designed to raise funds on the financial market to direct them towards investments within African cities and territories. In this regard, they encouraged cities and territories to subscribe to the cooperative society created for this purpose, and called on African governments to support this initiative.
The members of the Executive Committee also approved the takeover of the African Capitals of Culture program by UCLG Africa, whose first celebration will e held in Marrakesh in 2020/2021.
The members of the Executive Committee finally agreed that UCLG Africa should be involved in the Door of Our Return initiative launched by the Afro-Descendants of the Americas and asked the Secretary General to take necessary steps tp make this involvement a reality.
Within the framework and following of the meetings of UCLG Africa’s bodiesan international Conference was also organized from 18 to 20 June 2019 at the Conrad Hotel in Cairo, under the High Patronage of the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, His Excellency Mr. Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, on the theme: “African Cities: Engines of Sustainable Development”. The following collaborated in the organization of this Conference: the Ministry of Local Development of Egypt, UCLG Africa, UN Habitat, and the European Union.
This Conference was officially opened by the Prime Minister of Egypt, Dr. Mostafa Madbouli, and was attended by a large number of Ministers from the Government of Egypt; members of the Bureau of the Specialized Technical Committee of the African Union (STC 8) comprising African Ministers of Public Service, Urban Development and Housing, Decentralization and Local Governments; members of the Executive Committee of UCLG Africa and the REFELA Bureau; representatives of civil society organizations and academia; and representatives of development partners.
Attached are the conclusions of the Conference proceedings presented by the Minister of Local Development of Egypt. The final report of this Conference will be released in due course.
Cairo, 21 June 2019
The Secretary General of UCLG Africa