Tag Archive for: Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi

The hosting of UCLG Africa Statutory Meetings and the opening of UCLG Africa’s North Africa Regional Office (NARO) in Cairo, Egypt.

At the invitation of the Minister for Local Development in Egypt, His Excellency Mr. Mahmoud Chaaraoui, a UCLG Africa delegation, led by the Secretary General, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, participated in a mission to Cairo, Egypt from March 6-9, 2019. The delegation included Mr. Lahcen Amrouch, Vice President, Association of Local Governments of Morocco (AMPCC); Mrs. Souad Zaidi, Deputy Mayor, City of Rabat, Morocco; Mr. Youssef Tanarhte, Director, Finance and Administration Department of UCLG Africa and Mr. Mohamed Cherkaoui, Head of Protocol and Relations with the Administrations, UCLG Africa.

The mission was one of the follow up activities planned in the aftermath of the 8th Africities Summit, held in November 2018 in Marrakesh, Morocco. The purpose of the mission was to reconnect UCLG Africa with the Egyptian Authorities and UCLG Africa members. This was a result of the participation of a strong Egyptian delegation in the proceedings of the 2018 Africities Summit, who resolved to work more closely with the continental organization of subnational and local governments.

The Egyptian Minister of Local Development pointed out that the Africities Summit had been a revelation of the importance of UCLG Africa’s contribution to the unification of the continent and the promotion of its growth. He stressed that as the chairperson of the African Union for 2019, the Egyptian President, Abdel Fatah Al-Sissi, had committed to continue and deepen efforts to build a strong African Union and was equally determined to implement the African Free Trade Zone Agreement, which would strongly contribute to the realization of Agenda 2063 The Africa We Want.

The delegation held two important meetings on March 7, 2019. The first meeting was held with the Ministry of Local Development, attended by His Excellency and the minister, who presides over the governors of Cairo, Damietta and Kaliubia, as well as senior officials in the Ministry and corresponding governorates. On the afternoon of March 7, 2019, the delegation met with His Excellency Abubakar Hafni, Secretary for African Affairs and his staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Items on the agenda included:

– An exchange of information on decentralization and the expectations of UCLG Africa.
– The establishment of the UCLG Africa North Africa Regional Office (NARO) in Cairo;
– The hosting of UCLG Africa statutory meetings of in Egypt;
– A field trip.

The establishment of the UCLG Africa North Africa Regional Office (NARO) in Cairo was met with reassurances from the Egyptian authorities. The Minister of Local Development of Egypt, His Excellency Mahmoud Chaaraoui, confirmed that Egypt had offered to host the UCLG Africa North Africa Regional Office and that the delegation could visit the assigned premises for the office. Located in the Heliopolis airport area, the office will accommodate a meeting room and 4 offices and will be furnished, equipped, delivered and ready for operation by the end of May 2019. The headquarters agreement has been submitted to the Egyptian Government for approval and is currently being examined by the Legal Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirming that things are going in the right direction for the upcoming opening of the NARO office.

With regard to Egypt hosting UCLG Africa’s next statutory meetings, the period, June 17-21, 2019 was selected. The Egyptian Government proposed that meetings should be organized back to back, followed by the launch of football’s Africa Cup of Nations on June 21, 2019.

The meetings will be held as follows:

– Regional Strategic Meeting of the North Africa Region of UCLG Africa, bringing together members of North Africa sitting on the Panafrican Council of UCLG Africa, as well as Presidents and Permanent Secretaries of each national association of local authorities operating in the region – June 17, 2019.

– Meeting of the Financial Management Committee – June 18 2019;
– Official launch of REFELA Egypt – June 19, 2019;
– Meeting of the Executive Committee of UCLG Africa – June 20, 2019;
– Official inauguration of the UCLG Africa Regional Office for North Africa – June 21, 2019;
– Participation in the launch ceremony of the African Cup of Nations – June 21, 2019.

By hosting these meetings, the country of the Pharaohs reaffirms its determination to resume its rightful place in the local governance movement and local development dynamic in Africa.

The Minister of Local Development of Egypt, His Excellency Mr. Mahmoud Chaaraoui, welcomed the election of Egyptian representatives to the governing bodies of UCLG Africa, namely:

– The Governorate of Kaliubia, represented by its governor, Mr. Alaa Abdel HALIM, on the UCLG Africa Panafrican Council.
– The Governorate of Cairo, represented by Mr. Khaled Abdel Aal, on the UCLG Africa Executive Committee;
– The Governorate of Damietta, represented by Mrs. Manal Awad Mikhaiel Aboughatas, on the REFELA Panafrican Council.

The Regional Office for North Africa (NARO) will join the other three UCLG Africa regional offices already operational in: West Africa (WARO), East Africa (EARO) and Southern Africa (SARO).

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”.