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).