On 21 January 2022, During Urban –Rural linkages webinar in preparation of 9th edition of Africities summit, to discuss the Role of intermediaries cities in strengthen Urban –Rural Linkages amid rapid urbanization in Africa, UCLG Africa advised countries to Establish String Link for Rural and Urban Areas through intermediaries cities.
In his opening remarks the secretary General of UCLG Africa, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi said that, this approach would ensure that the supply chain of food and commodities is self-sufficient. Is important that countries have structure a way that people will depend on this link and not so much on importation of food and commodities. The secretary general of UCLG Africa highlighted how global market failed during the Covid 19 Pandemic, where he urges that countries need to come up with alternative solutions to tackle such kind of situations, this includes to create urban and Rural linkages, which will enable supply self sufficient supply of food and commodities.
UCLG Africa also insist there a need of climate change adaptation plan. The climate change is here to stay, thus there a great need new adaptation solution on climate change. These solutions include the following.
- To invest a new adaptation solution in intermediary cities, which focus on the human settlement and nature
- Total rethink on how Africa is going to manage urbanization in continent. Where by intermediary cities have to be major pillar in Managing a fast growing population in Africa. Therefore, is very key for Africities Summit to be seen as place where cities in Africa, will bring a position of Africa on climate change adaptation plan, which will focus on feeding the population, self-sufficient of food and commodities and rebuild of cities to adapt the current and future demands of growing population.
They also need to come up with news solution of managing infrastructure investments on intermediary cities to ensure that there a good return to those investments. This also can be done by ensuring that the infrastructure to be installed must adapt the need of very fast population and they must prove value for money criteria.
UCLG Africa Secretary General conclude that for all these to be materialized there a great need of good governance, to ensure the trust between the population and governments. He pointed out that current their serious lack of confidence by population to the governments.
During this webinar UN-Habitat pointed out that faced many challenges, include unfavorable national government policies, lack of financial and technical capacity. UN Habitat echoed what Mr. Mbassi said that, during the Covid pandemic, there was great realization of how global system can depend on intermediaries cities to provide for good and services to population, it was during this time that there was realization how relevant the universal health care is needed and the role intermediaries cities to provide for such services. UN Habitat pointed out that well empowered intermediaries cities can display great role in providing the following things:
- Intermediaries cities will provide a balance of territory development linking urban and Rural activities and vice and versa
- Intermediaries cities can act as service center, to provide goods and services to both urban and rural areas.
- Advancing food security by linking rural production and urban market and service
UN-Habitat also pointed out is currently working three areas to improve the Role of intermediaries cities.
- Supporting and encouraging countries in establishment of Urban and linages in their policy-making plans.
- Raising awareness of importance of Urban-Rural linkages to member states
- Collecting and disseminate best practice of urban –Rural Linkages
UN-Habitat conclude that, it recognize that urban and rural areas cannot deem isolated from one another, therefore the intermediaries cities is a solution in moving forward in tackling today world population challenges and demands.
Participants were urged to propose solutions and position, which will be presented in next Africties summit in Kisumu (17-21 May 2022).