Africities Summit 2018: 20 years of Pan-Africanism of Cities and Regions Celebrated in Morocco

“For an  Africa of all Transitions, for Cities and Regions as Drivers of Changes  Strategies”

Press Release 

Rabat, on 24 October 2018,

The flagship pan-African event of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA Africa) will celebrate its 20th anniversary. It will bring together the 5,000 expected participants for creating a shared vision of the «Africa We Want».

By hosting the Summit for the second time in 10 years, the Kingdom of Morocco and all the Moroccan stakeholders, mobilized under the aegis of the Moroccan Association of Presidents of Communal Councils (AMPCC), support this event which amplifies «the Voice of Territorial Africa».

Press Notice 

Under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Morocco hosts the Africities Summit for the second time, addressing the theme: «The Transition to Sustainable Cities and Territories: the Role of Territorial Communities of Africa.»

Indeed, it is a decisive role, as more than 60% of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations fall within the competence of territorial communities, as recognized by decentralization laws. The actual achievement of these objectives depends thus on the strong involvement of elected representatives, local public administrations, and territorial actors (communities, businesses, artists, women, young people, banking institutions, etc.).

The future of Africa and its evolution are increasingly played out at the level of the Continent’s cities and territories. Globalization and rapid urbanization are the two powerful trends that mark this evolution. These two trends have a significant impact on the development of African societies. They raise questions about the effectiveness of the current growth and development models pursued in the African context, and even prompt one to consider a paradigm shift in the way people think about the Continent’s sustainable development.

In choosing the theme of «the Transition to Sustainable Cities and Territories» for the Africities 2018 Summit, the territorial authorities of  Africa have opted for a break proposal that justifies the urgency for a farreaching change in the growth and development patterns, and a paradigm shift in the Continent’s development in order to achieve the structural transformation sought by the African Union Agenda 2063. The Summit will discuss the various dimensions of transition, without disregarding the interactions they maintain among themselves: demographic, ecological, democratic and political, economic and social, geopolitical, as well as culture and communication.

It is further recognized that it is rather in cities and territories that the fight against climate change and poverty would be won or lost. This is why cities and territories of Africa are now key actors in the process of implementing the international agendas adopted by the United Nations in 2015 and 2016, and more particularly the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG), the Paris Agreement that builds on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for the implementation of the said Agreement, and the New Urban Agenda adopted in Quito, Ecuador. It is for the sake of raising awareness of the new responsibilities incumbent upon them and exploring the ways and means for fully assuming these responsibilities that the leaders of territorial communities of Africa invite all relevant stakeholders to explore with them at the Africities Summit, to be held from 20 to 24 November 2018 in Marrakech, the strategies to be defined and the paths to move along in order to start now the transition towards sustainable cities and territories in Africa.

This eighth edition is therefore a not-to-be-missed event for the territorial communities of Africa, and a significant anniversary date, as it marks the 20 years of existence and organization of the Africities Summits !

Read more… 

Re-defining AU-EU Partnership Perspectives of CSOs, Private Sector and Local Authorities

  1. Preamble

From the 8th to 10th of October 2018, Gaborone, Botswana played host to the Africa Regional Meeting of the Policy Forum on Development (PFD). The Policy Forum on Development (PFD) is a multi-stakeholder platform that brings together Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Organized Private Sector and Local Authorities (LA) from around Africa to dialogue on critical development issues. The PFD recognises the European Commission’s 2012 communication on the “The roots of democracy and sustainable development” which clarifies the definition of CSOs in all their diversity and specificities. The PFD is supported by the European Commission and provides a platform where identified stakeholders’ together with EU Members States meet to debate on development matters. The regional PFD is organized on a rotational basis in addition to an annual global meeting.

The 2018 edition of the Africa PFD focused on the recommendations which emanated from the November 2017 African Union (AU) – European Union (EU) Summit of Heads of States and Governments; the vision for the proposed post-Cotonou framework, and further examined the AU theme of the year on Combatting Corruption.

  1. Observations

The Africa PFD witnessed extensive deliberations across critical development and governance issues. Subsequently, at the end of the three days, the PFD observed the following:

  1. A mutual and balanced relationship between the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) is essential for both to play a leading role in world governance, now and the future. However, this relationship ought to be to be further cultivated and effectively harnessed for mutual benefit and to foster meaningful outcomes.
  2. The PFD as a multi-stakeholder platform should be a model that seeks to contribute to facilitating dialogue across crosscutting development issues and sustain critical platforms that promote knowledge and information sharing between the two continents.
  • Climate change is a real challenge to both continents and is already disrupting livelihoods.
  1. Rising inequalities on both continents is an issue of political and social concern for sustainable peace and development.
  2. Africa has a youthful population that can be a demographic dividend or a bulge. This youthful population is often lacking requisite skills and competences to express their ingenuity and play their rightful role in the overall development of their societies and continent at large.
  3. Existence and implementation of institutional frameworks and mechanisms that support effective governance systems are either lacking and/or not fully enforced in many countries. These countries also demonstrate very little corresponding political will to introduce and implement such systems.
  • Development at the national level has not been inclusive and has not reached the farthest behind in the spirit of the leave no one behind principle.
  • Leadership has a fundamental role in determining the development trajectory of States. The challenges in quality leadership can be directly attributed to slow development.
  1. Corruption and illicit financial flows hurt everyone as necessary resources that are meant for the general good of huge populations are diverted for personal gain. The overall attainment of both the Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) face existential and attainment threats due to pervasive corruption.
  2. The evolving global context of migration greatly impacts on socio-cultural dynamics. The EU Neighbourhood Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) and the upcoming UN Global Compact on Migration presents a great opportunity to reengage on these issues.
  3. The proposed European Investment Plan has the potential to contribute to Africa’s development. However, the involvement of the local private sector is so far limited.
  • The 20-year Cotonou Partnership Agreement comes to end in February 2020. The upcoming Post-Cotonou agreement negotiations provides a unique opportunity to re-define the AU-EU partnership.
  1. Recommendations

In the spirit of dialogue and partnership of the PFD, the following recommendations were thus put forward:

  1. Future AU-EU partnerships, including the bi-annual Summits of Head of States and Governments should embrace a multi-stakeholder approach that ensures the voice, contributions and priorities of all stakeholders are incorporated in all mechanisms. AU and EU should take steps to ensure that they are aligned in their future visions regarding the direction of the partnership, and the impact they will make.
  2. The AU and EU should deliberately initiate and sustain mutually beneficial development models which will directly translate into clear improvements in the political and socio-economic wellbeing of the respective populations. These models should include development frameworks that adhere to the SMART principle that demonstrate clear-cut linkages between the initiatives and their impact.
  • Multi-stakeholder and multi-level engagement that seek to promote wider ownership and deepen local stakeholder reach across all spheres of society should be initiated. Therefore, a PFD approach should also be implemented at the national level to ensure important voices and concerns that represent the critical mass of societies are adequately captured and taken on board.
  1. Given the persistent challenges of climate change, the partnership must adopt a sustainable approach to strengthen adaptation and mitigation interventions at all levels. The partnership should also support the implementation of the nationally determined contributions as prescribed by and agreed under the Paris Agreement.
  2. The AU-EU partnership should strive to deliberately target inclusion and justice at all levels as a priority agenda.
  3. The AU-EU partnership should give higher attention to making adequate investments in the continent’s youthful population, training them in requisite skills and competencies, providing opportunities and the enabling space which is essential to transform the continent to a digital age and a knowledge economy.
  • The AU-EU partnership should promote enabling environments that foster the contribution of all stakeholders to build effective institutional frameworks that are required for effective governance and development across the continent.
  • Strengthening local structures and fostering inclusive development initiatives should be at the heart of national efforts at implementing both the Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  1. The AU-EU partnership should promote the building of resilient institutions and capable leadership that is able to deliver on development outcomes.
  2. Anti-corruption efforts must go beyond lip-service. The AU-EU partnership should advance efforts to use existing mechanisms to curb corruption and illicit financial flows, and where necessary, push for the creation of new mechanisms.
  3. The AU-EU partnership should push towards a deeper understanding of migration issues and advance a common descriptive narrative that abolishes the innate contestation between the opposing views of migration being exclusively a security issue or it being a multi-dimensional human rights issue.
  • The implementation of the EIP should enhance an enabling business environment following a structured dialogue between all parties involved, including local private sector to ensure mutual benefits as well as inclusive economic development.
  • Negotiations for the Post-Cotonou Agreement should be undertaken in a timely manner and should take into adequate cognisance lessons learned from implementing the initial 20year Agreement, as well as changing dynamics and realities of the signing parties. African countries must anchor their negotiations within their commonly adopted visions and goals, especially Agenda 2063, Agenda 2030 and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and marshal the best strategy to realise these.
  1. Conclusion

The Africa PFD was a rallying point for advancing the development and governance dialogue amongst critical stakeholders. The Forum, like other previous editions saw the active participation of Regional Institutions, Trade Unions, Foundations, Diaspora, Civil Society Organizations, Organized Private Sector amongst other actors.

The Forum afforded the relevant partners a platform to reinforce commitments that promote mutually agreeable and beneficial African Union (AU) – Europe Union (EU) relations. In this regard, the Forum noted that identified gaps that exist within the current working frameworks as constituted, remain subject to further engagement with the relevant stakeholders as the debate remains an ongoing one for enhancing future relations and promoting safer, just and equitable societies for all.


Practical information for your participation at the Africities 8 Summit (20-24 November 2018, Marrakech)

In order to optimize the participation and the process of payment of registration fees for the Africities 8 Summit (20-24 November 2018, Marrakech), please note below the practical information for your participation or the participation of your delegation , we strongly recommend you to:

  1. Pre-register each member of your delegation by filling in the required fields on: . Please copy the link to your browser and proceed to register the members of your delegation one by one. An automatic pre-registration message will be sent to you.
  2. Send to UCLG Africa ( the list of all delegation to calculate and edit a corresponding invoice that will be sent to you;
  3. Make the payment by bank transfer to the UCLG Africa account according to the details of the bank account attached and send us the payment document (transfer order / Debit Notice);
  4. Complete the registration confirmation process upon receipt of a second message to get the Bar-Code giving each participant access to the Africities Summit8
  • As far as hotels in Marrakech are concerned, we strongly recommend that you send your requests for hotel reservations in Marrakech to the Shems Travel Agency Booking Center, Mrs Salwa

Please find below the first list of 4 * and 5 * hotels with negotiated rates pending a complementary list with all other categories to be communicated later on :

Hôtel Catégorie Prix Single en BB Prix Double en BB
Mogador Menara 5* 85 110
Essaadi HOTEL 5* 125 140
RIAD ENNAKHIL 5* 760 100
Atlas Asni 4* 95 120
Hôtel Labranda 4* 95 120
Meriem 4* 51 64
NASSIM 4* 56 70
Mogador Guéliz 4* 50 65
WAZO 4* 62 73
ZALAGH 4* 72 89
RAWABI 4* 67 75


We strongly advise you to regularly check in the website:  for potential and frequent updates.

For any further information please contact :

The Future of African Youth : The Africa We Want by 2030

New York, 2nd October 2018 – UN General Assembly, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa in collaboration with UN Habitat, UNODC and UNESCO will host the inaugural Youth Forum at the 8th Africities Summit which will take place from November 20-24, 2018 in Marrakesh, Morocco, under the theme: “The transition to sustainable cities and territories: The role of Local and Sub- national governments of Africa.” Africities summit is the flagship event of the pan African Organization United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) and is held every three years in one of the five region of Africa.

The 2018 Africities Summit is organized by UCLG Africa under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed the VI, in collaboration with the Moroccan Association of Presidents of Municipal Councils (AMPCC), the Association of the Regions of Morocco and the City of Marrakesh, and with the support of the Kingdom of Morocco. Around 5,000 participants are expected at the event, representing all the stakeholders of African local life as well as their partners from other regions of the world, including: African Ministers for Public Service, Urban Development and Housing, Decentralization and Local governments; African leaders of subnational and local governments; Representatives senior staff of national and local and subnational  governments administrations; Representatives of the Business Sector; Civil Society Organisations; African Traditional and Moral Authorities; Researchers and Academia; Development Partners and International Cooperation Agencies, among others.

In recognition nearly 70% of Africa’s population is currently under 35 years UCLG Africa have made youth a primary focus for the development of Local Africa. To ensure that the voice of youth is heard, UCLG Africa has joined forces with UN Habitat, UNODC and UNESCO to organize youth development and leadership programs.

Therefore in order to celebrate its 20 anniversary, the Africities Summit has endeavored to set up and inaugurate the Youth Forum during this 2018 edition, in order to engage young people from across the continent and the diaspora to connect, share views and showcase innovative solutions that will create the Africa We Want. The Youth Forum includes a competition that is opened to young Africans aiming at harvesting as many new ideas as possible to accelerate the transition towards sustainable cities and territories in Africa, targeting Agenda 2030 of the United Nations and the Agenda 2063 of the African Union for the realization of “The Africa We Want”, and of the High Five priorities proposed by the African Development Bank to accelerate its implementation.

The competition will select 20 young Africans that will be invited to participate in Ideation workshops and a Creativity Lab consisting of a Cartoon Camp Challenge and a Virtual Reality Contest, around the topic of “Imagine a sustainable future for Africa and its cities and territories, in 2030 and 2063”.

With the support of partners, UN Habitat, UNODC and UNESCO young people will also be invited from across the continent and the diaspora to participate in workshops, discussion forums and side events that explore what we have coined the 5 areas;-

  • Economic and Social Empowerment
  • Education and Capacity Building
  • Good Governance, Integrity and Anti-corruption
  • Entrepreneurship, Employment and Job Creation
  • Urban Crime Prevention and Safer Cities (addressing the health and wellbeing of youth populations in cities and urban spaces)

At the end of the Summit we will have a youth development strategy and a set of project proposals that attempts to address and meet the needs of young people that has been identified for them by them.

Watch the video presentation of Africities Creative Lab. 


For further information, please contact:

Em Ekong: Tel: + 44 7801 701 675

Email: or

2018 Metropolis Annual Meeting: Towards more inclusive metropolitan cities

Gauteng Province hosted the annual meeting of the World Association of the Major Metropolises (Metropolis) at the Sandton Convention Center in Johannesburg, South Africa, August 26-29, 2018.

Approximately 700 delegates, including governors, mayors, local elected officials, local governance experts and academics from across the world, took part in the meeting, “Inclusive Metropolitan Cities and City-Regions.” During the fourth day participants had the opportunity to express their views on the various aspects of the theme and to adopt the Gauteng Declaration – Inclusive Metropolitan Cities and City-Regions .

The declaration recognizes that the goals set by the international community to implement the global agendas cannot be achieved without the participation and commitment of metropolitan cities and all local governments. It calls for the injection of more resources to effectively localize the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda and Paris Agreement on Climate Change; and to address the environmental, economic, social, and governance, dimensions of exclusion in metropolitan areas.

The 2018 Metropolis Annual Meeting was organized in partnership with the World Organization of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and its African Section, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), as well as the ICLEI organization. The inaugural meeting of the forum, organized by Metropolis and UCLG Africa, was held on August 26, 2018 at the Soweto Campus of the University of Johannesburg. The official launch of the forum will be made at Africities 8 (November 20-24, 2018, Marrakesh, Morocco).

Gauteng Governor, Mr. David Makura, UCLG President, Mr. Parks Tau, Metropolis President, Mr. Michael Müller (Mayor of Berlin), Metropolis Secretary General, Mr. Octavi de la Varga and the Secretary General of UCLG Africa, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, reaffirmed their commitment to build inclusive metropolitan cities, taking into account cultural diversity, gender equality and offering a better quality of life for people.

Growing Integration of African Cities into the Global Investment Network: The Geography of Investment in Africa

The opening and closing ceremonies were marked by cultural presentations of songs and dances from the Zulu people. The meeting provided a framework for scanning the geography of global investment in African cities. The topic was the subject of a remarkable presentation by Professor Ronal Wall, President of the Department of Economic Development, School of Economics and Business Sciences, University of Witwatersrand  (Johannesburg, South Africa). Based on the latest report of “The State of African Cities” published by UN Habitat in July 2018, the professor reviewed the situation of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in large cities. It revealed that over the period 2003 to 2016, foreign direct investments (multinationals) increased inequalities in the metropolitan cities, (Cairo, Casablanca, Johannesburg, Lagos, Algiers, Cape Town, Tangier). Professor Wall urged local leaders to focus on regional investments (between African countries) that reduces inequality, rather than looking to international investment.

With regard to the impact of FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) on food security, Africa has a disproportionate level of food imports compared to food exports. This implies that investments in food security do not have any real impact on food security, as multinational food companies mainly export to global markets.  When considering the influence of FDIs on smart cities, a study shows that the intelligence of a city is not only determined by the technological measurement and coordination of cities, but especially by its position within the global networks of foreign investments. In other words, the more connected a city is through investments, the more intelligent it will be.

Professor Wall suggested a number of recommendations, which he addressed to the leaders of local governments, with the aim of prompting African cities to develop strategies to become essential nodes for products and services in the global market. The main objectives would be to make significant progress in the fight against urban unemployment and poverty, the reduction of the proliferation of urban informal settlements (slums) and, above all, to ensure future food security. In this respect, the urban revolution should go hand in hand with a pronounced agricultural revolution.


  • Intensify investment connectivity of African cities to the world;
  • Empower cities to shape their investment environments by, for example, accommodating location preferences of multinational firms;
  • Scrutinize sectors of investment and only attract types that reduce income inequality and environmental degradation;
  • Urban planners to create technological hubs for high-tech firms to gain economy of scale benefits and to increase absorptive capacity of foreign technology;
  • Promote gender parity in the labor market;
  • Local authorities to build on sectors where they already have comparative advantages; linking cities, countries and regions through road and rail transportation to expand market size, especially for landlocked countries to connect with port cities;
  • Target investment in renewable energy; smart cities, food security, green cities, infrastructure, real estate, infrastructure;
  • Formulate policies that attract food firms focused on local markets; and
  • African continental, regional, national and municipal institutions to invest in and support accessible high-level data collection, as well as stimulate advanced analytical methods and technologies;
  • Globally, the report calls for international organizations to, inter alia: expedite investments in Africa by financing regional infrastructure to improve the flow of goods, finance and labor; prioritize urban food security; and help promote governance to attract multinational firms in the food sector.

The Alexandra district

Participants in the meeting had the opportunity to assess the challenge of inclusion in the heart of Johannesburg. Delegates were able to see the contrast between the luxurious and fast-growing Sandton urbanization, where the conference was taking place, and the slum of the Alexandra district located 4 kilometers away. They visited the Iphutheng Primary School in the district, where they planted trees and installed tree water taps within the school.

The end of the 4 days was marked by a plenary session on “How the cities of the world locate the Global Agendas” and 16 parallel sessions. The plenary session provided the opportunity to share the experiences of actions implemented by the cities of Barcelona (Spain), Montreal (Canada), Montevideo (Uruguay), Porto Alegre (Brazil), Turin (Italy), Brussels (Belgium), Johannesburg, (South Africa).

The Metropolitan City of Turin elaborated about a territorial integration plan for the development of a green city with a population-centered economic program. For their part, Barcelona focused on SDG5, to build a more feminist city and SDG11, on the right to housing. The municipality presented a declaration on housing to address this issue and avoid an urban crisis, similar to that threatening the other metropolises of Spain.

Montevideo focused on the social economy and the fight for gender equality. Porte Allegre implemented SDG3 to facilitate better access to care, resulting in the extension of hospital opening hours to 10:00p.m. The municipality also built 19 housing units for the homeless, most of who suffer from mental disorders related to drug abuse. Montréal is implementing the Montréal Sustainable Plan (2016-2020). The Canadian capital city is speeding up the development of its urban transportation while respecting the attainment of SDG13. 300 hybrid buses will be put into circulation to reduce the city’s carbon footprint and 1,200 social housing units will be built to provide access to housing for a greater number of people, including migrants.

Safety of women in public spaces

The parallel session on women’s security in public spaces enabled the President of the Council of the Agdal-Riyad District of the City of Rabat, Ms. Bennani Badia, to share the experience of her municipality with regards to this issue. The city, notably, created a citizenship club to instill citizenship values ​​in young people, in terms of the freedom of women and young girls. According to the local councilor, this approach contributed to a 67% reduction in the rate of violence against women in urban areas. Ms. Silvia Llorente Sánchez, Task Manager Metropolis Women presented a report on the results of a study on the safety of women in public spaces of large cities. (Note that most cities and public spaces are designed by men and for men). 36% of metropolitan cities do not have gender-sensitive public spaces; 49% of cities have repressive policies on violence against women; for 61% of preventive policies and 20% of transformative policies (awareness of citizens). In South Africa, on average 4 men have already raped a woman in their life. Statistics show that progress still needs to be made to ensure the safety of women in public spaces.

Commitments made by the large cities on this issue in Johannesburg, will be assessed at the next Metropolis annual meeting, to be held at Montevideo in Uruguay in 2019.

Gauteng Declaration Inclusive Metropolitan Cities and City-Regions

The World Association of the Major Metropolises (Metropolis), represented by Governors, Premiers,
Mayors, and public officials from every corner of the globe,
meeting in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa, from 26 to 29 August 2018 for the historic Metropolis
Annual Meeting, taking place during the centenary year of the birth of Nelson Mandela,
jointly with our World Organisation of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and its African section,
United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), as well as with our sister organisation ICLEI (Local
Governments for Sustainability) and all the other partners and associations,

During this centenary,

We share the willingness to work towards metropolises for and by their citizens, where participatory and
effective metropolitan governance fosters economic development, sustainability, social cohesion and
justice, gender equality and good quality of life;

We are committed to fostering links and exchanges between political leaders, policy makers and
practitioners worldwide; to advocating for metropolitan interests and improving the performance of
metropolises in addressing local and global challenges;

We are dedicated to the transformation of our institutions and the strengthening of governance systems
in order to respond to the aspirations of a rapidly urbanising population; addressing urban sustainability
challenges related to housing, infrastructure, basic services, climate change, food security and migrations;
and ending violations of human rights;

We recognize that metropolitan areas are expanding due to the galvanising power of proximity,
agglomeration and innovation; that targeted transformation of cities and city-regions, which are the cradle
of our heritage, is critical to the vision of a brighter and more inclusive future; and that urbanisation is already bearing fruits by lowering overall poverty, raising household incomes, and creating new

We acknowledge the impact of metropolitan areas on their surrounding territories, hinterland,
peripheral cities and intermediary cities; and that metropolitan priorities and policies need to take into
account these effects on countries as a whole;
We celebrate that the Forum of African Metropolises is convened as an important mechanism to develop
knowledge and know-how among peers in a rapidly urbanising continent;
We understand that the objectives set forth by the international community to meet global challenges
cannot be fulfilled without the involvement and commitment of metropolises and all local governments.

More means to effectively localise the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda and
Paris Agreement on Climate Change; and to address the environmental, economic, social and governance
dimensions of exclusion in metropolitan areas;

Read the full declaraion.

African large cities agree to launch the Forum of African Metropolitan Cities

It was in the legendary district of Soweto that the inaugural meeting of the Forum of African Metropolitan Cities took place on August 26, 2018 at the Soweto Campus of the University of Johannesburg (South Africa). Soweto, the city of leaders of the struggle against apartheid: Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela and Desmond Tutu, amongst others.

In this year, when South Africa celebrates the centenary of its historic leader, Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), the annual meeting of Metropolis (World Association of  the Major Metropolises), which is taking place from August 26-29, at the Sandton Convention Center in Johannesburg, could not miss this event. The conclave of large African cities marked the beginning of the annual meeting of Metropolis with the theme, “Inclusive metropolitan cities and cities-regions.”

For its part, the inaugural meeting of the forum, initiated by Metropolis and UCLG Africa, generated great interest and enthusiasm between the large cities of the continent. Fifteen cities participated in the exchanges, including, Abuja (Nigeria), Brazzaville (Congo), Libreville (Gabon), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Accra (Ghana), Rabat (Morocco), Dakar (Senegal), Johannesburg (South Africa), Ethekwini (South Africa) and Tshwane (South Africa).

The event was marked by opening addresses from the Premier of Gauteng Province, Honorable David Makhura, the President of UCLG, Mr. Parks Tau and the welcome address by Dr. Babu Sena Paul, University of Johannesburg.

In his speech, the Premier of Gauteng province invited the metropolises of the continent to become aware of their potential. Actually, the metropolitan cities have enormous potential for the development of Africa. In South Africa, the Gauteng region alone accounts for 35% of the country’s GDP, a ranking that places the Gauteng region as the 7th largest economy on the continent. “There is a need to be more confident that the sub-national governments, the cities and the regions have a power that the central government cannot stop. Gauteng is proud to have hosted African metropolises ahead of the annual Metropolis meeting. We are working here for the launch of the Forum of Metropolitan Cities and Regions of Africa at the next Africities Summit (November 20-24, 2018, Marrakesh, Morocco),” said Mr. David Makhura.

This forum on African metropolises will serve as a platform for metropolitan cities of the continent. The platform will represent a unified voice in the fight to attain sustainable development. “This will be an inaugural platform to engage in discussion for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, the 17 SDGs and the African Union Agenda 2063. We need to start discussion with one voice,” said David Makhura. “Poverty, social inequalities and the informal economy are features of African urbanization. As leaders of Africa’s largest cities, we have the joint responsibility to achieve the goals of the African Union’s Agenda 2063. It is time to make tangible the African renaissance advocated by Nelson Mandela,” he continued.

For the Secretary General of UCLG Africa, Mr. Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, the Forum of African Metropolitan Cities provides concrete answers to the challenges they have to take on. “This forum places the cities at the heart of Africa’s structural transformation,” he said. Let us recall that the statistics indicate that the African continent will be the most populous by the year 2050, with almost 2.5 billion inhabitants, including around 60% of city-dwellers. Africa is the continent with the youngest population in the world (under 35 years). It is the continent that has more than 70% of agricultural land free of pesticides, and it is the continent that has 16% of the mineral resources in the world. This places the continent at the center of the world, because in reality, all economies depend on Africa.

This great potential of the metropolises of the cradle of humanity, “is not yet perceived by several leaders as drivers of growth,” deplored the Secretary General of UCLG Africa. As metropolises are at the heart of urbanization, they must, in this respect, make their voice heard by the African Union to implement this concern in the Agenda 2063. “Cities should enjoy the financial resources from their territories. This requires defining a common strategy of local taxation and mobilization of natural resources. African metropolises are different from the ones in Europe, and consequently urban planning of the cities in the North is not compatible with those of the cities in the South. In Africa, there is no forward planning, there is therefore a need to plan with the people who are already on the lands,” explained Mr. Mbassi.

The Secretary General of Metropolis, Mr. Octavi de la Varga, said, in his contribution, that the implementation of the New Urban Agenda entails a management of several levels of governance taking into account the gender approach. “We must invest in building up the capacities of the local and regional governments. Metropolises are mainly concerned with SDG 11 and SDG 17. The future of human planning will be defined in Africa. Thus, the Forum of African Metropolitan Cities is important, because we need your voice to spread the appropriate message,” he said

Towards the setting up of the Forum of African Metropolitan Cities

An action plan presenting the major thrusts of the forum was adopted unanimously by the large African cities present. It will contribute to formulating innovative and sustainable responses to the challenges faced by the continent’s metropolitan cities and promoting learning between the different spheres of governance. The participants emphasized that this forum will not be an additional network, but will act as a platform that will meet in parallel with the main meetings of the already existing local governance organizations, namely UCLG, Metropolis and UCLG Africa. This platform of African metropolitan cities will have the advantage of defending their specific interests in a united way in order to enable them to fulfill their role of developing the continent by connecting it to the global market. The development of the economic potential of the continent’s large cities will be a key element in this approach.

The action plan has 5 points:

  • Establishment of a first generation business plan to be approved at the launch of the Forum of African Metropolitan Cities at the Africities Summit (November 20-24, 2018, Marrakech, Morocco);
  • Establish an operational secretariat with an initial complement of skeletal staff, office systems and procedures;
  • Consolidate current membership arrangements and strengthen partnership and linkage to a range of stakeholders, including all spheres of government, the civil society, trade unions and businesses, based on specific programs and projects;
  • Increase general awareness of the importance and role of large cities in the African continent’s economy and changing demographic profile, through various platforms;
  • Determine key performance indicators for the secretariat that will be set up.

Before the official launch of the Forum at the Africities summit, African metropolitan cities are invited by the Province of Gauteng to take part in the Africa Investment Forum from November 7-9, in Johannesburg; an event jointly organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the province of Gauteng. Governor David Makhura intends to seize this opportunity to promote the voice of African metropolitan cities with the aim of open and honest collaboration with the AfDB to ensure the sustainable development of the continent.

Inaugural Meeting of the African Metropolis Forum at the Metropolis 2018 Annual Meeting

From August 26 to 29, 2018, the annual meeting of Metropolis (World Association of the Major Metropolises) will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, under the theme: “Inclusive Metropolitan Cities and City-Regions”.

The program of the meeting aims to ensure the inclusion of the main challenges of inclusion in the global agenda of metropolitan areas. For this purpose, the thematic sessions will address the key points of sustainable urbanization, such as migration, the fight against racism, social cohesion, gender equality, youth employment, growth of urban poverty, empowerment of girls and the informal economy. African cities will take part in this important meeting.

On May 4, 2018, African metropoles attend a meeting in Rabat, Morocco, for the preparation of the Metropolis Annual Meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa. 25 mayors of major cities in Africa , members of UCLG Africa are expected  at the UJ Soweto Campus, on August 26, 2018, at an inaugural meeting of the African Metropolis Forum.

This meeting will mark the official launch of the African Metropolis Forum to be held at the next Africities Summit from 20 to 24 November 2018 in Marrakech, Morocco under the theme: “ The Transition towards sustainable cities and territories : the role of local and subnational governments of Africa” . It should be noted that there  will be an inaugural official dinner, during the Africities Summit, that will take place on 22 November 2018, between the leaders of African Metropolises and the leaders of African business to build a collaboration partnership leading to sustainable and inclusive metropolises and city regions in Africa. During the meeting of August 26, 2018 in Johannesburg, the African cities will define the orientations that will enable them to play their role of connecting Africa to the World.

Participants at the Metropolis annual meeting include: development investors, entrepreneurs and high-profile speakers, major métropolitain leaders, Governments, SMME sector, small and medium enterprise support agencies and other development institutions across the continent and the world. An exhibition will also be hosted during the event to showcase projects that have contributed to the building of inclusive cities. The exhibition will be open to the public. UCLG Africa will have a stand at the exhibition.


Africities 8-Concept Note: The Transition to Sustainable Cities and Territories: The Role of Local and Sub National Governments of Africa.








PDF avialable here .

1. The eighth edition of the Africities Summit, held in Marrakech from November 20 to 24 November, 2018, focuses on: The transition to sustainable cities and territories: the role of local and sub national governments of Africa.

2. This concept note defines the overall direction and consistency of the Summit activities. It serves as a reference for the preparation of the sessions of the Summit, and lays down the work assumptions from which it is necessary to define the questions and the perspectives of the general theme, namely that of the transition towards sustainable cities and territories. This concept note makes it possible to prepare proposals and recommendations which will be discussed and adopted by the ministers, mayors and leaders of local and regional governments; and considered by the cooperation partners of the African countries.

3. The Africities Summits are the space for developing proposals and training for African local elected representatives. This space is open to all those who wish, in alliance with African local and regional governments, to build alternative policies. Since 1998, the Africities Summits have enabled participants to understand and act on the issues affecting the evolution of Africa and Africans, at the level of local and regional governments, central governments, and African institutions.

4.  The Africities 8 Summit will explore the future of African cities and territories, as well as that of the local and regional governments that are responsible for administering and managing them. It will take as a starting point the context and the situation in Africa to highlight the dimensions of the transition from the ongoing changes. It will focus on the role and strategy of local and regional governments of Africa in the transition.


5. The future of cities and territories in Africa is part of the evolution of the continent and contributes to its future. Among the many questions that will mark the future of Africa, two trends are to be highlighted: globalization and urbanization. As supporters of the globalized economy, cities and territories are also transformed by globalization. The evolution of globalization is upsetting the geopolitical system and calling into question the nature of States. Globalization changes the relationships between different levels of governance (the local level, the national level, and that of the major regions and the world level); between the living spaces of the populations (including rural areas and urban spaces); between taking into account the specificity of local contexts, the construction of national unity within the borders of states, and the universal character of the challenges posed to Mankind as a whole.

6. The crisis situation experienced everywhere, irrespective of the level of development of the various countries, made us realize that we had very probably entered a turning point in the evolution of societies and the world in relation to the recent past. The awareness of this turning point highlights the need for a paradigm shift in the way of thinking about evolution and preparing for the future of the world. This approach, whose elements had been perceived and addressed in several critical studies, became more widely accepted as a necessity. In recent years, the international debate has taken into account this evolution through the adoption of continental and global agendas of a universal scope, in particular, Agenda 2063 of the African Union, Agenda 2030 of the United Nations, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change; and the New Urban Agenda.

7. Agenda 2063 was at the heart of the Africities 7 Summit in Johannesburg in 2015. The theme selected was: ” Shaping the future of Africa with the people: the contribution of African local authorities to Agenda 2063 of the African Union “. Africities 7 was an example of commitment to an essential project, that of the future of the continent and the building of Africa’s unity. The Summit placed itself within the long-term perspective of the continent, supported by the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which proposes to articulate the profound transformation of African societies and of Africa with the urgent need to improve the living conditions of Africans and the preservation of peace within the continent.

8. Agenda 2063 provides a solid framework for redressing the wrongs of the past and for making of the 21st century the century of Africa. Fifty years after the thirty-three (33) first independent African states met to make the historic decision to create the Organization of the African Unity, Agenda 2063 proposes to look at, and to build, the Africa for the next fifty years. This Agenda proposes an “integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, led by its own citizens, and a dynamic force on the world stage”. The Agenda focuses on the mobilization of the African people on the ownership of development programs on the continent by its citizens. The Agenda lays down the principle of autonomy of decision-making within the continent, which implies the principle of financing the development of Africa. It stressed the importance of having capable institutions, that are inclusive and responsible at all levels and in all spheres. The Agenda highlights the essential role of the Regional Economic Communities as a cornerstone of integration and unity of the continent.

9. Agenda 2063 highlights seven aspirations  : 1. A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development; 2. An integrated continent, politically united and rooted in the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the vision of the African Renaissance; 3. An Africa where good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law are on the agenda; 4. An Africa living in peace and security; 5. An Africa with a strong identity, common heritage, shared values ​​and ethics; 6. A people-centered Africa that builds on the potential of its people, including women and youth, and cares about the well-being of children; 7. A united and influential Africa on the world stage.

10. Agenda 2063 is achieved through ten-year action plans whose implementation is made through the five priority intervention areas adopted by the African Development Bank («High 5 “), namely:

– Lighting Africa and bring energy to it

– Feeding Africa

– Industrializing Africa

– Integrating Africa

– Improving the quality of life of people in Africa.

11. The Africities Summit 7 in Johannesburg, also welcomed the adoption of Agenda 2030 by the United Nations in September 2015. This Agenda defines 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of a universal scope, translated into 169 Targets grouped around five priorities (5Ps), namely: The People, the Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. Through Agenda 2030, the international community has made three major commitments: fighting inequalities, exclusion and injustices; facing up to the climate challenge; and putting an end to extreme poverty. The international community gave itself a slogan: “leave no one behind”. In most U.N. Member States, more than 60 percent of the SDGs fall under the powers that the decentralization laws assign to local and regional governments, hence the invitation of the international community to the States, to promote the localization of the SDGs, and a strong involvement of the local and regional governments in a view of their effective realization. For local governments, the slogan “leave no one behind” must be interpreted as “leave no territory aside”.

12. The Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change meeting in Paris in December 2015 (CoP21) resulted in the adoption of the Paris Agreement, which defines the actions to be undertaken at the international level, in order on the one hand, to limit emissions of greenhouse gases to maintain the level of global warming at 2 degrees Celsius maximum by 2100, the threshold beyond which, according to the experts of the interstate group on climate (IPCC), climate disruptions would become unpredictable; and, on the other hand, to implement actions to adapt to the consequences of climate change on the populations and territories where they live. In order to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, each State Party to the Convention is required to submit nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the Convention’s Secretariat. IPCC experts estimate that the cumulative implementation of the actions contained in the set of NDCs presented by different states party led to a rise in the planet’s temperature of 3 degrees Celsius, higher than the set ceiling of 2 degrees beyond which the situation would become uncontrollable.

13. It is for this reason that leaders of local and regional governments have decided to strengthen the action of national governments by committing to undertake actions at the territorial level to limit the rise in global warming to a maximum of 15 degrees Celsius by 2100. In this regard, at CoP21 in Paris in 2015, leaders of African cities and territories made commitments alongside their counterparts from other regions of the world, although Africa has contributed very little to current levels of greenhouse gases emissions. The leaders reiterated this commitment at CoP22 in Marrakech in 2016. Most of them have joined the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, and define climate plans in their territories. At the meeting organized in September 2017 in Rabat, Morocco, by UNDP, the NDC Partnership and the secretariat of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, participants agreed that without the involvement of local and regional governments, the NDCs of different African states were unlikely to be realized. Hence the recommendation made to the States to work on the territorialization of the NDCs and for a strong involvement of the local and regional governments to their implementation. This territorialization is particularly relevant when we consider that it is first at the territorial level that the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction by 2030 applies.

14. The New Urban Agenda is an implementation strategy of Agenda 2030 in a world that has become predominantly urban since the middle of the first decade of the 2000s. The international debate on cities has evolved. At Habitat 1 in Vancouver, Canada, in 1976, the debate focused mainly on the relationship between industrialization and urbanization and on the relationship between employees and housing. Two new issues have emerged then: the environment and participation. At Habitat 2, in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1996, the right to housing and access to public services had been underscored. Two issues were debated: land tenure security and the social production of housing. Two new actors emerged in the international arena: local and regional governments, which held their first World Assembly of Cities and Local Authorities at a United Nations meeting; and businesses, who, through the creation of the Business Compact with the United Nations under the leadership of the multinational companies, marked their entry into the international debate.

15. The New Agenda for Cities adopted at Habitat 3 in 2016 in Quito, Ecuador, is part of a reshaping of the UN’s priorities around the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. It stressed the need for a more positive view of the role of cities in promoting sustainable development, provided  (i) that there is an adoption of national urban policies that define an urban system taking into account all the cities of levels, including small towns and intermediate cities, not just the big cities and metropolises; (ii) provide that there is a revival in the practice of urban planning in which one must involve all citizens, including the poorest; (iii) provided one links together urban planning, infrastructure and services needs, as well as urban investment financing, of which a significant portion should be sought through the capture by local and regional governments of some land gains generated by the urbanization savings and territorial savings; (iv) and provided that one highlights the partnership with all stakeholders with a view to involving them in the co-production of cities and territories.

16. The New World Urban Agenda sets in particular the goal of achieving the SDGs 11 for “inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities and human settlements”. The first three of the ten targets of the goal propose, by 2030 (1) to ensure “access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, and upgrade slums”; (2) to “provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all”; 3) to “enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries”.

17. The Sustainable Development Goals restore the importance of the fundamental rights-based approach in comparison to the essentially economic approaches. The SDGs also restore consistency to the various levels of public action. The consistency between the different continental and global agendas is verified. UNDP estimates that 83 percent of the objectives of Agenda 2063 overlap with those of Agenda 2030. The reconciliation of the objectives of these two agendas with the provisions of the Paris Agreement highlights a new approach to the transformation of societies that challenges old conceptions of development.

18. One can also verify that Agenda 2030, while being an undeniable step forward, does not settle the debate on the meaning of public action. The Urban Agenda is non-binding and leaves open the debate between two conceptions of urban social transformation:  to sum it up, choosing between competitive cities and solidarity-based cities. The contradictions remain strong among those offering to rely on the free play of market forces to ensure effective management of urban development, and those who advocate a major resort to public action and regulation for a better respect of fundamental rights, the general interest and the common good in urban management. This debate is unresolved, particularly in Africa, where national and pan-African institutions have not yet fully grasped it. The Africities Summit 2018 offers the opportunity to address this issue at the level of the local governments of Africa and to explore the hybridizations necessary to have the advantages of the two approaches and to minimize their possible disadvantages.

19. For twenty years, the movement of territorial authorities has gained visibility and recognition in Africa. At the Africities 1998 Summit in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, relations between local elected officials and representatives of African states were tense in connection with the issue of decentralization. Since then, and partly thanks to the pan-African platform of dialogue that the Africities Summits have set up, the decentralization and the development of the territories are recognized almost everywhere as a mandatory figure of the modernization of the States and of the improvement of the governance of public affairs. However, the allocation of resources did not follow the allocation of responsibilities. The definition of new relations between the territorial authorities, the national authorities and the supranational authorities at the level of the African Union will be on the agenda of the Africities Summit 2018. For the first time the meeting of ministers will be directly organized by the Specialized Technical Committee (STC) number 8 of the African Union, which brings together the conferences of ministers in charge of public service, urban development, local authorities and decentralization.

20. By adopting, for the Africities 2018 Summit, the theme of the transition to sustainable cities and territories, the local and regional governments of Africa are part of a breakthrough proposal. It is up to them to construct a narrative for Africa corresponding to this bifurcation. The approach of Agenda 2030 presupposes consistency in the activities of the different levels of governance, from the local, national, regional, continental and global levels. National and local public action must now integrate the goals of the main universal agendas adopted by the United Nations, but from a territorial perspective. The territorial vision takes into account proximity to citizens, and facilitates their mobilization and participation in the management of local affairs, respect for the interest and demands of the populations in the definition and implementation of actions at the territorial level, the measurement of results based on the indicators defined following the deliberations concerning the meaning of the actions to be undertaken. At the Africities 2018 Summit, the local and regional governments of Africa shall discuss with all stakeholders the strategy of localization and territorialization of the Sustainable Development Goals and of the corresponding targets.




21. The transition hypothesis makes explicit the idea of ​​a profound change, of a structural evolution. We are at a turning point in all areas of the evolution of cities, territories and societies. A turning point that is defined in civilizational terms and which disrupts all the dimensions of this evolution. This turning point also explains the forms of evolution. It introduces a relationship between the upcoming total change, already in progress, and the continuity of the evolution of societies, of the world and of the planet. The goal is to link sudden change and continuity, and to distinguish between continuities and discontinuities. What is valid for societies is also valid for cities. Thus, new social relationships are slowly emerging from the old. In the transition, a new rationale is needed and all the old forms, social and urban, do adapt to the new dominant rationale, in a specific manner, according to the contexts and situations.

22. The current situation is marked by the contradictions of the world system. The Africities 2018 Summit will take these contradictions as a starting point: it will examine the consequences thereof for Africa and its cities and territories. The Summit will then focus on the role that subnational governments can play in order to begin to overcome these contradictions, starting with territorial policies. Transition modifies paradigms and the way of thinking about the transformation. Transition is basically a process that integrates all dimensions at the same time, hence the difficulty of presenting it in a discursive way.

23. In dealing with the different dimensions of the transition, one should always remember the interactions that such dimensions do maintain. These different dimensions will nonetheless serve as a starting point for identifying changes and for linking transformations with conceptions, policies and strategies. One will therefore analyze: the demographic transition, the ecological transition, the democratic and political transition, the economic and social transition, the geopolitical transition, and the cultural and communicational transition. For each of these dimensions, one should define what characterizes the transition in question, especially in the African context and its specificities, and the role that subnational governments of Africa will play.

24. The demographic transition is a major dimension. It is characterized by five main transformations: the increase of Africa’s share of the world population, the rapid urbanization of the continent, the decisive evolution of the place of women in the political and social field, the generational changes and mutations of African youth, and migrations.

25. Africa had 100 million inhabitants in the 19th century, 275 millions in 1960, and 640 millions in 1990; it should host 1.2 billion people in 2015 (16 percent of the world’s population). Between 2017 and 2050, 26 African countries will see their population double. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs estimates that the population of Africa is expected to reach 4.5 billion by 2100 (40 percent of the world’s population). At that time the population of Africa will have exceeded that of Asia, and Africa will then be the main center of settlement of humanity. In other words, the choices that the African continent will make in terms of growth and development trajectories will have a great impact on the sustained and sustainable nature of growth and development in Africa and throughout the world.

26. The irruption of women on the political stage of the African continent is one of the most important developments in the national and pan-African debate on the development and integration of the continent. The involvement of women is now crucial for the implementation of public policies and strategies at the territorial, national, regional, continental and global levels. Women make up 51% of the African population. The “Women Matter Africa” report published by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that $ 12 trillion could be added to Africa’s GDP if the continent takes better advantage of the labor and creativity that African women represent. Echoing that concern, the African Union declared “2015, Women’s Empowerment Year”, in recognition of their contribution to the development of Africa. This recognition is the result of years of struggle, mobilization, and claims carried by women’s associations, including in the local governments movement.

27. At the Africities Summit held in Marrakesh in December 2009, male elected officials of the continent heeded the call of their female counterparts to set up a Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA), which was achieved in Tangiers, Morocco, in March 2011. REFELA is now recognized as the legitimate voice of local elected women in the African continent, and opens national chapters to relay the action of the continental network in each country. REFELA will proceed with the renewal of its instances at the next Africities Summit in Marrakesh. In particular, the Network will review its three-year action plan, which includes the launch and implementation of three campaigns: a campaign of African cities without street children; a campaign of African cities with zero tolerance to violence against women; and a campaign of African cities that are favorable to the economic empowerment of women.

28. Youth is what best characterizes the demographic dynamics of Africa. The African population is the youngest in the world. In 2050, one-third of the world’s youth will live in Africa, compared to one-fifth in 2015. By 2050, the 15-24 age group will grow from 230 million in 2015 to 450 million by 2050, representing almost a doubling of the initial figure. This represents 60 per cent of the continent’s unemployed, compared to an average of 34 per cent in the rest of the world. By 2050, experts estimate that there will be 1 billion young people under 18 in Africa (almost 1 person in 2 in the world). Every year, 10 to 12 million young people do enter the labor market.

29. An increasing share of these young people are settling as autoentrepreneurs. 72 percent of African youth live on less than $2 a day, a level defined as the poverty threshold by the international community. The “Decade of Youth” proclaimed by the African Union in 2009, expires in 2018 without significant progress being made on the youth employment front. The African Union-European Union Summit took youth as the central theme, but no truly applicable proposal emerged. It is not surprising that some young people lose hope for their future on the continent and seek out of the continent better living conditions, sometimes by risking their lives.

30. This alarming situation in many respects should not hide the fact that, thanks to young people, Africa is making rapid progress in the field of new technologies and of the Internet of Things (IoT). Thanks to the investment of young Africans, Africa is becoming a land of innovation in the field of mobile applications. The M-Pesa mobile payment platform developed by young Africans has been a forerunner in the adoption of mobile money around the world. The amount of daily transactions in the form of transfers or payments via M-Pesa represents, in Kenya, $ 23.3 million, more than double the daily financial transactions made by commercial banks in Kenya. Think Tank Mobile Money estimates that 82 percent of consumers use mobile banking in Africa, compared to an average of 66 percent worldwide.

31. Beyond financial and banking uses, thanks in particular to the investment of young Africans, IoT is developing rapidly in three areas, mainly to overcome the challenge of distance, the lack of qualified personnel, or insufficient information causing market distortion: the field of agriculture and the agricultural economy; the field of health; and the field of education. The adoption by cities and territories of a transition path to a more sustainable development opportunities for developing new applications that can offers the African continent an important source of new jobs for young people.

32. The rapid urbanization of the continent is a milestone in the demographic transition. Being mostly rural 60 years ago (at the time of national independence of African States), the population of Africa will become predominantly urban within 30 years. In 2009, the urban population, representing 40% of the total population, had 400 million inhabitants. By 2050, it is expected to reach 1.2 billion people, the equivalent of the totality of the continent’s current population, namely 60% of Africa’s population by 2050. The urban fabric of Africa has rapidly evolved. In 1960, Africa had two cities with more than 1 million inhabitants, Cairo and Johannesburg. In 2015, it has 80 cities with more than 1 million inhabitants, of which 20 have 2 million or more inhabitants. 5 cities exceed 8 million inhabitants, one per sub-region: Cairo, Lagos, the Gauteng Urban Region (Johannesburg -Tshwane – Ekhuruleni), Kinshasa, and Nairobi. Urbanization is not just about big cities; 70% of the continent’s urban population lives in intermediate cities (100,000 to 1 million inhabitants) and small towns (10,000 to 100,000 inhabitants).

33. A strong trend observed in most of these cities in Africa is the casualisation of housing which accentuates urban exclusions and segregations. It is estimated that at least 60% of urban dwellers in Africa live in “informal” (substandard) housing and settlements. In the next twenty years, 300 million new urban dwellers will have to be accommodated in Africa. In the next twenty or thirty years, it will be necessary to build in African cities as much infrastructure as it has been constructed until now. Until now, urban development has mainly consisted of adding self-built neighborhoods without any real planning. The majority of urban dwellers are excluded from the legal channels of access to land and housing, and live a precarious land situation, in under-equipped neighborhoods, most often referred to as “irregular” or “informal” neighborhoods. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Number 11, which recommends that by 2030 cities and human settlements become “inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable” seems to be out of reach, unless there is a drastic reconsideration of how informal settlements will be integrated into the planning of African cities.

34. The issue of migration appears to be the major strategic issue in the evolution of the planet’s population. Natural disasters, armed conflicts, social unrest and economic and political crises are leading to more and more displacement of people from rural areas to urban areas, from poor regions to rich regions, from the interior of the continent to coastal areas, feeding an uninterrupted flow of migration within countries, between countries in Africa, or to other regions of the world. These displacements of populations (suffered or desired) raise two big questions: What relations between migrations, development and the distribution of wealth between the countries? How to respect and guarantee the fundamental rights of migrants, migrant workers and their families?

 35. Subnational governments are front liners in the management of migrations since migrant populations generally leave a local government to settle in in another local government in a transition or permanent way, within the same country or in another country, inside or outside Africa. The charter on migrants that the mayors and leaders of local and regional governments of Africa adopted at the Africities 7 Summit held in Johannesburg in December 2015, will be reconsidered and complemented during the 2018 Africities Summit in Marrakesh. Furthermore, a network of African subnational governments willing to invest on the migration issue will be set up. The Africities summit in Marrakesh will also define the stand that African subnational governments will take in the migration debates that will take place around the adoption of a global migration compact that will be on the agenda of the UN conference on migration scheduled in December 2018 in Marrakesh.

36. The ecological transition came about as a result of the realization that, for the first time in the history of Mankind, the organization of the dominant production and consumption system came into conflict with the planetary ecosystem. This awareness is born from the now scientifically established relationship between the growth model and the unsustainable nature of borrowing from and rejection in the necessarily finite natural environment; global warming and climate change; recurrence and magnitude of natural disasters resulting in loss of life and destruction of property and investments.

37. This awareness has the effect of calling into question more and more certainties about growth, productivism, extractivism, and the dominant development model. It opens up a debate around two options: to extend the current productivist models by correcting them with the adopting of green industries and producing environmental technologies; or move to totally different models and forms of growth and development, where the logic of living well and respecting the environment takes precedence over that of frantic growth and competition. This debate is just beginning. It deals as much with the necessary industrialization as with the nature and forms of industrialization. This debate will have far-reaching consequences for public policies as well as for people’s behavior in relation to production and consumption patterns. The choices that will be made in this area will have a major impact on the organization and functioning of cities and territories, including in Africa. This is why the debate on the ecological transition will have a place of choice at the Africities Summit 2018 in Marrakech.

38. Until now, the economies of African countries have been largely dependent on raw materials and extractive industries, one of the main consequences of which is to set up obstacles to the diversification and scaling up of the continent’s economic output. How can Africa get out of this hellish logic? The assumption set out within the framework of the Africities Summit 2018 discussions is that the continent has no option but to take the path of the ecological transition. This trajectory is needed because, as latest comer in the industrialization process, Africa needs to learn from the ecologically unsustainable growth and development experiences of developed and emerging countries.

39. The ecological transition requires challenging the priorities of local economies and redefining them with the principles of sobriety, energy efficiency, and the circular economy. The choices that cities and territories of Africa will make in terms of access to energy, regional planning, organization of production systems, transport and trade, and in relation to their character more or less inclusive, will be of paramount importance for the future of Africa and the world, because it must be recalled that, by 2100, Africa will house almost half of the world’s population.

40. The democratic and political transition is fundamental. The democratic transition is the most significant dimension of the evolution of the political environment. Promoting political unity within the context of the construction of the Nation-State, while respecting the diversity of local contexts, makes the forms of regulation and representation particularly difficult; as well as the link between the renewal of institutions and renewal of elites. Every day, demands are increasingly pressing for the establishment of a political system that guarantees, in well-determined and specific situations, the individual and collective freedoms and the respect for fundamental rights; a political system that therefore leaves open the choice of forms of representation that are respectful of the diversity of societies, establishes the modalities of participatory democracy to correct the abuses of representative democracy, promotes the involvement of citizens in the management of public affairs, and defines mechanisms for monitoring and controlling the actions of leaders by the people; and a political system that condemns corruption in all its forms and restores ethics and individual and collective effort as a means of access to social respectability.

41. At the level of subnational governments in Africa, the stakes are high. Local elected officials are not immune from the generalized mistrust of politics, which takes the form of rejecting corruption by saying that politicians are “all rotten”. The hope that elected local and regional governments will renew African political elites has not yet been realized. New practices and alternative policies would overcome these situations. The example of participatory budgeting, adopted by many African communities, is a promising innovation in this direction.

42Economic and social transition is a key dimension. It must be conceived by taking into account: the dominant rationale, which is that of financialization and regulation by the financial markets; the rise of a new productive sector, built on the digital economy and biotechnologies, which will totally change the forms of production and distribution of goods and services, and even the forms of ownership and access to use of goods and services; and the indebtedness of the various States, which tends to reduce the leeway of the public authorities.

43. The productive base of cities is changing. Companies are being reorganized through spin-offs and subcontracting. National companies are being privatized, especially in public services. Local businesses do constitute the basic economic fabric, although new forms are emerging, such as start-ups and “Uber-ization”. Trade and crafts are marked by the continuity between small businesses and the informal sector. From the social point of view, the decisive element is that of the explosion of social inequalities in every society and throughout the world. The issue of social inequalities overdetermines those of poverty, precariousness and discrimination. It underlies urban, social and ethnic segregation.

44. For Africa, in a few years one has gone from strong afro-pessimism to sometimes exaggerated optimism. The reality is more contradictory. The decline in commodity prices has put many economies in difficulty and recalled that African economies are rather raw material and commodities based and not diversified. African youth, considered one of Africa’s great asset, find few jobs and feed migration flows. Modern agriculture is mainly exporting agricultural products to the industries and markets in developed or emerging countries, while peasant agriculture, which should provide the bulk of food sovereignty, is struggling to get modernized.

45. African entrepreneurs are dynamic and the emergence of several large African companies testifies to that fact. But the continuity of the African economic fabric is not assured with, on the one hand, the control of large sectors by the multinational companies, and, on the other hand, the persistence of an informal sector whose productivity and possibilities to offer decent job are limited. This is one of the major challenges that the economic and social transition poses to local and regional governments of Africa as part of the transition to sustainable cities and territories.

46. Local and regional authorities of Africa are indeed called upon to become the key players in economic and social transition. The local economy can play a decisive role in creating and consolidating the continuity of the economic fabric. Provided training and support are given to local economic actors from the financial, banking and institutional standpoints. Provided that local authorities put in place the basic services necessary to ensure the competitiveness of economic activities (water, sanitation, energy, health, education, culture). Provided also that there is an institutional environment that is favorable to this purpose, and that the State conducts and funds national social policies implemented with the participation of local authorities. Provided, finally, that local authorities do not prohibit the possibility of using local currencies as a means to support the development and growth of local economies. The alliance between local and regional authorities in Africa and African companies is one of the avenues to explore as well to root development in African territories.

47. The geopolitical transition accompanies the emergence of a multipolar world in which the place of Africa has evolved and still evolves. In the long term, we can identify two phases in the recent geopolitical history of the continent. The first phase, which corresponds to decolonization, led to the independence of most African states, which led to a disruption of global geopolitical equilibrium with the entry of more than 50 African states into the United Nations. The geopolitical space was then structured around the post-colonial states belonging to one or other of the two dominant geopolitical blocs, the block of capitalist states, and the bloc of socialist (or communist) states. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the bloc of communist states, a second phase of the continent’s geopolitical history is opening up, which has seen the emergence of new actors such as China and the emerging countries of Asia, which changes the terms of the equation of the domination between States, of the relations between States and nations, and the content of identities and affiliations, as well as the very definition of the international scene.

48. Citizens claim that they belong to multiple identities, at the level of their basic community, of their territorial community, their national State, the geographical region or of the continent to which the different States do belong, but also other groupings organized on a linguistic, cultural or other affiliations basis. We are witnessing a reorganization of the public authorities from the bottom, through the establishment of local authorities, and from above, through the establishment of regional grouping at a supra-state level. This recomposition is all the more relevant as the State appears too distant to solve problems of proximity, and too small to deal with global challenges.

49. The entry in lists of subnational governments opens up a new field in the geopolitical space, namely that of international cooperation of subnational authorities, also called decentralized cooperation. The international cooperation of subnational authorities increases the scope of international relations by incorporating the local level of governance, placing it within a perspective of long-term institutional strengthening, and by promoting relations between peoples through beyond the relations between States. This new field sees the role of national, continental and global associations of subnational governments in international debates, to such an extent that these associations come to claim a place at the table of international negotiations that are, so far, the privilege of the sole national States.

50. The contribution of associations of subnational governments in defining the global agendas adopted in 2015 and 2016 was remarkable and appreciated. The involvement of the Global Task Force of Local and Regional Governments in the High Level Political Forum established with the United Nations Secretary General is a step forward to make the voice of local and regional authorities heard at the highest level on the international scene. The influencing capacity of local and regional authorities is increasingly seen as an essential component of soft power policies. The involvement of local and regional authorities in defining global agendas and international negotiations is at the heart of the current debate on the reorganization of global governance.

51. The establishment of large regions as subjects of law is the other facet of the recomposition of the geopolitical space. This is one of the ways in which national States take steps to reduce the impact of the dynamics of globalization on each of the States taken individually. Large regions also appear to be one of the most appropriate responses to climatic and ecological challenges. They make it possible to develop synergies between neighboring countries and to maximize the benefits that regional integration and solidarity offer to each Member State. Their emergence is based on the principle of shared sovereignty. The trend towards strengthening large regions has been helped in part by the rise of multilateralism as the foundation of international relations.

52. The questioning of multilateralism observed in recent years produces mixed effects within the different regional groups. At the level of the African continent, the creation of the African Union marks a turning point in the way Africa, its states and its cities and territories do fit within the world geopolitical space. The African Union has become the legitimate interlocutor for any political dialogue and cooperation with Africa. It is all the more so since all the relevant actors of African public life are represented in the governance architecture of the African Union: National governments, subnational governments, parliaments, civil society organizations, and private sector representatives. The African Union is increasingly becoming one of the major players in the global geopolitical scene. That is why the African Union is of the opinion that the renewal of the post-Cotonou Agreement, supposed to organize relations between Africa and Europe over the next 20 years, must be negotiated from continent to continent, between the African Union and the European Union.

53. The occurrence and persistence of socio-political conflicts and wars is another important element in the assessment of the geopolitical situation.  Between 1 and 2 billion people around the world live in areas affected by a classic war or civil war. These wars profoundly mark the development and planning of cities and territories. A city is not planned in the same way depending on whether the region to which it belongs is at war or in peace.  In countries and regions in crisis or war, cities experience an increase in insecurity: social insecurity, insecurity of employment and housing; ecological insecurity; civic insecurity related to conflicts and relationships to violence. Insecurity is becoming an essential factor in urban management and often leads the populations and leaders of the cities concerned to adopt a security-based ideology, according to which insecurity can only be fought through repression. We are witnessing the rise of new ideologies that explicitly leave room for racism, xenophobia and all-security-based systems that challenge the inadequacies of democracy.

54. Africa will have an increasingly important place in the multipolar world that is emerging. The continent has several strengths and could experience a similar evolution to that of Asia today. As we have seen, a decisive part of the world’s youth is in Africa, which gives the continent a certain demographic dividend. Africa’s raw materials and environmental reserves are vital to the world’s growth and development, giving the continent a competitive advantage. The economic dynamism of African countries is once again showing signs of great vitality after the dark years of structural adjustment. African migrants, the African diaspora, and afro-descendants are active all over the world. One of the conditions of African success will also depend on the ability of leaders of national and subnational governments of Africa to enter into positive alliances with associations of the diaspora of Afro-descendants and migrants. African subnational governments can also play a major role in preventing and resolving conflicts in their territories.

55. The geopolitical highlight of the recent period is the emergence of a global network of large cities which promotes, leads and manages the dynamics of the globalized economy. The emergence of this global network of large cities is a major trend that is restructuring territories around the world, including Africa. This network concentrates the headquarters of the main multinational companies, universities and scientific research centers, the financial and legal services, as well as the cultural facilities of international reputation. The agglomerations that make up this network often play the role of a communication and telecommunications node, and of an animation cluster for their region. Belonging to or connecting to this global network of large cities determines the extent to which cities and territories are involved in shaping the flow of the globalized economy and can draw a benefit for their region.

56. For Africa, three agglomerations are already part of this global network of metropolises: Cairo in Egypt; Johannesburg, in South Africa; and Lagos in Nigeria. These metropolises connect Africa to the space of the globalized economy. Thirty cities with more than one million inhabitants (about six per region) constitute the second tier of the continent’s urban framework, and are expected to play a key role in Africa’s development and integration dynamics, but provided, explicitly, that they themselves become the animators of the network of intermediate cities and small towns which still constitutes the prevailing urban reality within the African continent. The network of intermediate cities and small towns is indeed at the basis of the development of local and regional markets around which the multifaceted relations between rural and urban areas are organized.

57. The cultural and communicational transition is decisive. It involves the adoption of new cultural, scientific or philosophical references. It is often a questioning of certainties from which the interpretation of the world and the harmony of societies are based. It results in the evolution of the system of philosophical social, moral, religious ideas and thoughts which influences, through its representations, individual and collective behavior.

58. Cities will be upset by scientific and technological developments. New technological packages will mark the cities of the future. Examples include robotics, communications satellites, lasers and fiber optics, microprocessors and memories, biotechnologies, new materials and high-resistance ceramics, renewable energies, etc. These new technological packages will have effects on the choice of technical solutions, which from being mainly centralized previously could become increasingly decentralized. The governance and management of cities will be strongly influenced by these developments. The governance and management will probably produce effects beyond the technological sphere. There is no scientific and technological revolution without cultural revolution.

59. Cultural references tend to become more homogenous throughout the world. The dissemination of the cultures of the developed countries, in particular the American culture, extends and intensifies among the youth of the whole world. This extension is mainly based on the Internet and social media networks, and on the multinational companies that dominate this sector, and which are all American (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple – GAFA). Even the culinary practices normally rooted in the soil of a country are modified under the influence of the spread of the American fast food symbolized by the implantation in practically all the countries of the world, of firms like Coca Cola, McDonalds and KFC.

60. In Africa, the adoption of the model of globalized culture is mainly the deeds of the youth of the upper classes and the middle classes of urban populations. Young people from the poor neighborhoods of African cities, for whom this model remains an inaccessible dream, are reinventing a new urban popular culture borrowed from traditional cultures revisited in the light of the violence of everyday life and efforts to deal with it. The vibrancy of this urban popular culture demonstrates the capacity for innovation and creativity of this youth living in disenfranchised neighborhoods.

61. This urban popular culture strongly contributes to the cultural identity of African cities, which is gradually being developed through musical, artistic and cinematographic creations, whose dissemination is also based on mastery of new technologies. The strong comeback of African music, painting, plastic and graphic arts, as well as of the African cinema, in particular the Nigerian cinema (Nollywood), is proof that a cultural and communicational transition is underway in the cities and territories of Africa. How to ensure that this transition accompanies the emergence of a new approach to territorial governance that gives a better place to youth initiatives and leads to better ownership and identification of city dwellers to their city? How can this cultural and communication transition promote the engagement of Africa’s urban youth in the path to transition to sustainable cities and territories in Africa? It is to answer to those question that the participants in the Africities 2018 Summit will also be called upon to contribute.



62. We are at the heart of the questioning about the strategy to be followed so that the engagement of African communities in the transition to sustainable cities and territories is effective. Local and regional authorities are an indispensable step in the implementation of such a strategy for transition. At their level, they must articulate the responses to the emergency and the placement of these responses within a perspective of structural transformation. The challenge is for them to adopt a strategic approach, which articulates urgency and alternative. The emergency response is the daily life of local authorities. It sets priorities for the management and planning of human resource, of financial resources, of natural and ecological resources, and for the planning and programming of land management, public services, and citizen participation. In order to achieve a path of sustainable development, the response must integrate the exploration of alternatives and innovative practices.

63. The alternative territorial policies should be explored around the five major missions that local and regional governments must accomplish: 1) Feeding the cities (or territories); 2) building the cities; 3) providing basic services to the cities; 4) maintaining and ensuring maintenance for the proper operation of cities; 5) administering and managing the cities. The alternative territorial policies must provide answers to the following strategic lines of action: land policies and transport policies based on the questioning of spatial segregation; public service development policies based on access for all to these services and respect for fundamental rights; local development policies based on local production and local businesses, the local market and local employment; local environmental protection policies based on respect for local ecosystems and the rights of future generations; social housing production policies based on the right to housing and to the city; local taxation policies, particularly land based taxation, based on the link between wealth production and redistribution; citizen participation policies based on the articulation between representative and participative democracy and on residence citizenship; cooperation policies based on solidarity between communities within the same city, between cities and territories within the same country, and between cities and regions at the international level around the international action of subnational governments and around the actions of international solidarity between the States and the supra-state regional groupings.

64. In order to have any chance of success, any transition strategy must adopt a multi-stakeholder and multi-level governance approach, following the principle of active subsidiarity. It is essential that the leaders of the cities and territories of Africa understand that it is through partnership between all stakeholders and the synergy of action of the different levels of governance that the local actions are likely to have a lasting impact. The territorial approach to development promotes this perspective, which considers that any development is local, and that the development is real only when it is observed in the daily life of the populations, where they live. The strategy to be defined for the adoption of a trajectory towards sustainable cities and territories must therefore never lose sight of this requirement to provide concrete solutions to reduce the arduousness of citizens’ lives, regardless of the means available, while preparing the conditions for the establishment of a dynamic of structural transformation and sustainable development in the long term, and the best way to define such a strategy is still to involve the populations concerned, and to put in place appropriate mechanisms and modalities for doing so.


65. The transition to sustainable cities and territories in Africa is not an option for the future of the continent and the world. It is essential for Africa to play its full part in the adoption of new production and consumption models, and of development models that are more sensitive to the limits of ecosystems at the level of cities and territories, national or regional spaces, or the entire planet. It also requires the promotion of new social relations based on the equal dignity of human beings, respect for fundamental human rights, the rejection of inequalities and discrimination. The transition highlights the values of solidarity and sharing that break with the competition of all against all, which seems to be the preferred value in the current dominant development model.

66. It is at the level of the cities and territories of Africa, that are less entrenched in the structures of the globalized economy than their counterparts in other regions, that one can cherish the hope of seeing the dynamics of the transition actually begin and rapidly reach a significant scale to inspire other development model choices at the level of Africa and other regions of the world. In order to raise awareness about the new responsibilities that are under their purview in the salutary bifurcation towards a more responsible and just world, and to explore the ways and means of fully assuming their responsibilities, the leaders of subnational governments in Africa invite all stakeholders interested in coming to reflect with them at the Africities Summit from November 20 to November 24, 2018 in Marrakesh, Morocco, on the strategies to be defined and the trajectories to be followed to start the transition towards sustainable cities and territories in Africa.


Rabat, July 16, 2018


1st World Forum of Intermediary Cities: UCLG Africa at the heart of the action

The First World Forum of Intermediary Cities, held from July 5-7, 2018 in Chefchaouen, Morocco, and attended by 250 participants from 40 countries, hosted a dialogue between the representatives of the governments of intermediary cities and other key stakeholders, such as international organizations, national and regional governments and representatives of other types of cities.

The meeting of Chefchaouen served as a platform to scrutinize multi-level governance for the implementation of the common Global Agendas. The meeting ended with the adoption of the Chefchaouen Declaration-Charter of the Intermediary Cities of the World .

UCLG Africa took an active part in the debate on the various key themes of the agenda. As the representative for African local governments, it organized the “Multi-level Africa Dialogue for the Implementation of Global Agendas” on the afternoon of July 5, 2018.

The talks, led by the Secretary General, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, witnessed the participation of different stakeholders on the panel and in the hall. The latter expressed their views on how they imagined the involvement of territories in the implementation of the African Union Agenda 2063, as well as Agenda 2030. Panelists included: Ms. Leila Yassine, Africa Coordinator of the association ‘Climate Chance’ (platform regrouping non-state stakeholders ), Ms. Leontine Bona Weya, First Vice-President of the City of Bangui (Central African Republic), Mr. Mohamed Sadiki, Mayor of the City of Rabat, Mr. Sitholé Mbanga, Director General of Cities Network (South Africa), Mr. Dago Djahi Lazar, Director General of the Department of Decentralization and Local Development (DGDDL) of Côte d’Ivoire, Ms. Nouzha Bouchareb, Climate and Sustainable Development Expert at the Ministry of the Environment of Morocco, and Dr. François Paul Yatta, Director of Programs of UCLG Africa. The different contributions placed emphasis on working in synergy and adopting an inclusive approach, as a necessity, between the various stakeholders in order to ensure the full implementation of the global agendas (Agenda 2063, Agenda 2030, New Urban Agenda, Agenda of the climate, Sendai framework for risk reduction).

In conclusion, it ensues that the African local and regional governments can act on five aspects to implement the global agendas:

– Feeding territories by adopting climate-compatible approaches (40% of the wealth     of each territory must be used to feed the territory).

– Building territories (20%);

– Serving territories by delivering the basic services (20%);

– Maintaining territories;

– Administering and managing territories.

Mr. Mohammed Boudra, President of the Moroccan Association of Municipal Councils (AMPCC) and Ms. Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG, also contributed to discussions.

The territorialization of SDGs and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) vests the local governments with a new role which they should fulfill. The territorial space is a space of coherence, it is a space of coordination, a space of implementation, planning and questioning,” expressed Mr. Mbassi at the closing of the session, who also scheduled an appointment for the continuation of the dialogue at the Africities 8 Summit to be held from 20 to 24 November 2018 in Marrakesh .

At the session, “Talanoa Dialogue for Africa-Vertical Integration of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs),” Dr. Paul François Yatta shared the initiative, introduced by UCLG Africa, to establish a national dialogue in order to include the local dimension of NDCs as the only viable course to maintain the level of temperature increase below 2°C by 2100.  On this component, UCLG Africa and ENERGIES 2050 published the report entitled, “Challenges and Opportunities for the Territorialization of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in Africa” ​.

The opening ceremony, held on the evening of Thursday, July 5, also witnessed UCLG Africa taking front stage: The official opening, chaired by the head of the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco, H.E. Saad Eddine El Othmani, was marked by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of Morocco, UN Habitat, UCLG and UCLG Africa .

Thematic tables 

The Secretary General spoke about the fiscal and financial mechanisms which could be set up to encourage sustainable development in intermediary cities as well as in the territories. According to Mr Mbassi, the first project of the forum of intermediary cities is to ensure that the distribution of resources is equitable, because the intermediary cities structure the organization of the economy in all countries. A study, conducted by UCLG Africa in 50 intermediary cities in West Africa, revealed that the latter offer rural populations prospects that are four times higher than what the global market offers. Intermediary cities are presented as the poor parents of decentralization. They do not know their tax base and the level of infrastructure is poor and drives businesses away. Thus, there is a need to work on a tax system that upgrades intermediary cities and creates jobs for young people and women.

The Secretary General also contributed to discussions regarding the types of instruments available to further strengthen the cities of the future. For Mbassi, as intermediate cities are now stages in the dynamics of migration, it is necessary to involve these cities in the management of migration (national and international).

“Intermediate cities are the right place to begin the transition to sustainable development,” he said.

Indeed, the performance of national economies will be increasingly dependent on the performance of cities. It is estimated that the financing needs of cities in Africa is 25 billion Euros, yet Africa can only contribute up to one billion Euros. Two solutions proposed by UCLG Africa are: access to the climate finance and access to the financial market. On these two points, UCLG Africa launched, the UCLG Africa Climate Task Force   at COP23, in November 2017, in order to prepare local governments to develop projects eligible for the Green Climate Fund and other financing mechanisms.  The organization also created the , the African Cities Development Fund (FODEVA) in October of the same year.

The Secretary General also moderated the thematic table on “Upgrading Intermediary Cities in the World: A Unique Opportunity for a Sustainable Development and a Global Territorial Justice“.

Sharing and learning

The last day of the forum was dedicated to the “sharing and learning” sessions. UCLG Africa, through its REFELA Gender Standing Committee, organized the morning session on “Gender and Intermediate Cities“. The afternoon saw the thematic session “Food security: A challenge between intermediary cities and regions“. The session addressed the issue of the localizing of the food economy in the face of the agro-allied industry, which is considered a non-beneficial model for the territories. The mayor of Chefchaouen, Mr. Mohamed Sefiani shared the experience of his local government in raising the value of local products. “We have set up the training of women farmers and we have created the museum of the dieta mediterranea .

It was noted that in France, the fight for the production and distribution of agricultural produce is also critical. 40% of farmers are below the solidarity threshold, which leads to the loss of food balance, said Ms. Geneviève Barat, Vice President of the New Aquitaine region. Her region has adopted the territorial approach in the promotion of dishes of the territories, as well as a regional approach. This is achieved with the involvement of several stakeholders including high schools, locally elected officials and farmers. Ms. Barat insisted on the need to sensitize the young in order to raise their awareness and make them ambassadors of local consumption. An online farmer platform has also been created to provide them with the opportunity to sell their products.

In terms of food security, Mr. Mbassi again made reference to the Songhai project in Porto Novo, Benin, as an example of good practice in Africa. This project aims to create green rural towns with the practice of an integrated farming; organic farming respecting the nature and based essentially on bio-mimicry.

In Africa, the road infrastructures are very far behind to be conducive for food distribution. It is therefore necessary to structure the markets and this comes under the responsibility of the regions and cities,” he explained.

Read the Declaration of Chefchaouen- the Charter of the Intermediary Cities of the World .

Read the article “Gender and Intermediary Cities”.