Regional Strategic Meeting Unifying East Africa Local Authorities and Cities

Nairobi, Kenya, April 10, 2018

The regional strategic meeting of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) for the Eastern Africa Region took place at the Intercontinental Hotel (Nairobi, Kenya), April 9 -10, 2018.

The meeting, organized in collaboration with the Council of Governors (COG), of Kenya, was attended by 10 countries representing 14 national associations of local government, (Rwanda, Burundi, Madagascar, Comoros, Uganda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya) and were represented by presidents of the associations and the leaders of the Network of Locally Elected Women (REFELA) and their permanent secretaries.

Proceedings were opened by Amb Tuneya Hussein Dado, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Devolution and ASALS in the presence of Honourable Governor Josephat Nanok Koli, Chairperson of the Council of Governors (CoG); Mr. David Andre, the Mayor of Victoria, Seychelles, UCLG Africa Vice President for the Eastern Africa Region; and Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa.

In his opening remarks, Amb Tuneya Hussein Dado reiterated the importance of strengthening local governments and the key role played by UCLG Africa in uniting local governments across Africa. On behalf of the Council of Governors of Kenya, Honourable Governor Josephat Nanok Koli, welcomed all and expressed his happiness in hosting the first of the five UCLG African regional strategic meetings. He restated COG’s commitment to African cooperation led by UCLG Africa and the decentralization agenda.

The UCLG Africa Secretary General, Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, reminded participants of the importance of the UCLG Africa regional strategic meetings.

“They are key in the life of UCLG Africa. It is therefore critical that members take full advantage of their holding to share knowledge on the situation of decentralization and subnational and local governments in their respective countries and to make inputs in reflecting on how to improve this situation for greater involvement of subnational and local governments in the definition and implementation of the development and integration policies and strategies set forth by Agenda 2063 of the African Union.

The regional strategic meetings also provide a moment for members to reflect on what is happening at both the continental and global levels, particularly on how it impacts on subnational and local government mandates and actions.”

During the first day, two sessions were held which discussed UCLG Africa’s network in the region. In the first session, participants shared their experiences and key challenges on the state of decentralization in their respective countries and received information on decentralized cooperation partnerships. Discussion also surrounded the importance of UCLG Africa’s Pan Africa Peer Review, which supports members in identifying capacity issues. Candidates for hosting a Peer Review mission and participating in Peer Review teams were registered.

The second session addressed the functioning of UCLG Africa networks and how these networks could enhance the delivery capacity of subnational and local governments. UCLG Africa networks include the Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA); the network of City Managers (MAGNET); the network of City Chief Finance Officers (FINET); and the network of City Chief Technical Officers (TECHNET). The session also focussed on the role of local and regional governments in implementing African and global agendas such as the African Charter on Values & Principles of Decentralization, Local Governance & Local Development; the setting up of the High Council of Local Authorities as a consultative body of the African Union; the role of subnational and local governments in the implementation of Agenda 2063 of the African Union; the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and the Climate Change Agenda.

UCLG Africa’s members from the East Africa region are being invited to advocate for the ratification of the African Charter on Values & Principles of Decentralization, Local Governance & Local Development. Since its adoption in Malabo in 2014, the charter has been signed by 13 countries but has only been ratified by three countries, two of which are in the East Africa region (Madagascar and Burundi). The charter will become a legal instrument of the African Union when signed and ratified by 15 countries and deposited at the Africa Union Commission.

During the presentation on the role of African local governments in the implementation of SDGs, participants were given an example of the role played by local authorities in Nigeria. UCLG, the world organization of local authorities, has also developed a toolkit that was shared with members.

On the Climate Agenda, national associations of local governments were encouraged to join the global covenant of mayors for climate and energy, where the Africa chapter is hosted by UCLG Africa in its West Africa Regional Office,(WARO). The UCLG Africa Climate Task Force was launched during COP23 to assist African subnational and local governments prepare funding requests eligible for the green climate fund.

Members were informed about local government transparency and integrity aimed at providing voluntary members with a tool to address the daunting issue of corruption in the subnational and local government administrations.

Participants were also informed about the role they are expected to play in the implementation of the European Union cooperation agenda. In 2013, the EU adopted a Communication that for the first time recognized local authorities as public authorities in their own right. Following this recognition the European Union concluded a framework partnership agreement with international and continental associations of local governments, including UCLG Africa. According to the provisions of the 2013 EU Communication on local authorities, national associations having a monopoly situation in their country can access EU cooperation funds allocated to local governments without going through a call for proposals, provided they present to and discuss with the EU delegation an implementation program agreed upon by the members of the said national association. Participants were further informed about the beginning of the negotiations of the Post Cotonou Agreement that will frame the cooperation relations between the Africa Union and European Union for the next 20 years. Attention was called for UCLG Africa members to advocate and lobby their national governments to have them include local governments as key partners at the different steps, from the negotiations stage to the definition and implementation stages, which implies that the territorial and local level should be recognized as the critical level for the implementation and impact assessment of EU cooperation programs. Engagement with the EU delegations was also recommended to follow up on the implementation of the 2013 Communication and on the post Cotonou Agreement negotiations that will start soon (presumably in September 2018).

The Africities 8th Edition, which will be hosted in Marrakesh from November 20-24, was announced and members were invited to attend in numbers. Members were also reminded that they are expected to participate in General Assembly of UCLG Africa and the Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA) that will be held during the summit and were briefed on the rules and procedures of the Elected General Assembly, which will be held on November 23. The official launch of the 8th Edition of the Africities Summit will take place in Rabat, Morocco on the May 15, 2018.

The CEO of the Council of Governors has expressed an interest in hosting the next Africities Summit in 2021 and has requested the support of UCLG Africa members from the East Africa region.

The regional strategy meeting held in Nairobi will be followed by the regional strategic meetings for the Central Africa Region in Libreville, (Gabon), April 16-17 2018; the Southern Africa Region in Walvis-Bay (Namibia), May 7-8, 2018; the West Africa Region in Accra (Ghana), May 28-29, 2018; and the North Africa Region in Rabat (Morocco), June 18 -19, 2018.

For further information, please contact:

Gaëlle Yomi: Tel: + 212 610 56 71 45