Celebration of World Metropolitan Day 2020: key messages from African metropolises

Five key messages highlighting the interface role of metropolises in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic were highlighted by African local governments during the celebration of World Metropolitan Day 2020.


As part of World Metropolitan Day, celebrated annually on October 7, UCLG Africa held a webinar on 06 October, themed: “Covid-19 and Metropolitan Management: lessons learned from the health crisis world” in partnership with Metropolis.

Approximately one hundred participants took part, which served as a platform to collect the contribution of African metropolises around the general theme of the celebration: “Metropolises facing the pandemic.

The opening ceremony, moderated by Ms. Rahmatouca Sow, Advisor for Political and International Affairs of UCLG Africa, was marked by speeches from: Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa; Dr. Mohamed Boudra, President of UCLG, President of AMPCC and Mayor of Al Hoceima (Morocco); Mr. Octavi de La Varga Mas, Secretary General of Metropolis; and Mr. Vincent Ncho Kouach, Vice-Governor of Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) and Vice-President of Metropolis.

In his opening remarks, the Secretary General of UCLG Africa underlined the importance for African metropolises to celebrate the day during this period of the pandemic. “This World Metropolitan Day is important for us. Africa is also going through a metropolitan transformation. There are roughly 18 cities hosting more than one million inhabitants on our continent today. Our metropolises are part of the global network of metropolitan regions and cities responsible for managing the flow of the globalized economy. Due to their exposure to globalization, Africa’s metropolises have been both the entry points and the places of spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The global nature of this pandemic shows that there is no individual response to face this pandemic and the response will therefore have to be a collective one. Metropolises are the articulation point between the country’s internal urban network and the international urban system (both continental and global). The people responsible for metropolitan management have a special role to play in the current management of COVID because of this role of interface and articulation of internal dynamics with external dynamics. At the end of this webinar, we should have a pretty good idea of ​​what the new post-Covid19 normal will be. What are the pitfalls to be avoided? What innovations have appeared and on which can we build new approaches in the management of metropolitan areas?

Mr. Mohamed Boudra, President of UCLG, President of AMPCC, and Mayor of the city of Al Hoceima, Morocco, explained that the post-Covid19 world remains to be defined and that local authorities can play a role in its design. “The response to COVID requires a global agreement, which makes our communities more resilient to future epidemics. In the age of urbanization, we must rethink the relationship between large cities and other territories. We need real transformation. This transformation leads us to rethink metropolitan governance, which can be a way of strengthening democracy. This transformation calls for a different kind of multilateral system. The international system will have to transform into an inter-urban system supported by cities and territories of all sizes.” He also stressed the need for more access to new technologies. “Enabling people to work in reliable environments is essential. We need adequate means to provide basic services. To do this, our local governments must be present in all governance mechanisms for the result to be effective on the ground. Local and subnational governments must be the guardians of international solidarity. More than ever, international cooperation is proving to be crucial in the management of the current pandemic and it will be even more so in the future.

For Mr. Octavi de La Varga Mas, Secretary General of Metropolis, the celebration of the Metropolis Day aims to, “continue the international debate on decentralization. The goal is to open spaces for dialogue between all metropolitan actors. I am happy that UCLG Africa has joined the celebration of this day, as has UN-Habitat. The context of COVID confronts us with the contradictions of the urban world. The President of the World Bank said that 110 to 150 million people will join the ranks of the poor by 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. COVID has highlighted the importance of the informal economy, the issue of access to basic services, of decent housing, and of the public space. The issue of mobility and of the digital divide is also highlighted in the management of COVID. It is important not to look only at the development of cities with a Northern perspective, because we often forget the realities of Southern countries. Metropolitan governance is crucial and there are a whole variety of models, but there are five crucial factors to consider: 1. Leadership through strong commitment from political leaders; 2. Inclusion: we must make the voice of citizens heard in decision-making; 3. Cooperation with the active engagement of all spheres of governance; 4. Institutional frameworks for cooperation; and 5. Resources: we need adequate funding and investment. In particular, we launched a call to rethink metropolitan spaces. This appeal is made to everyone; it is a call for international cooperation.“.

Mr. Vincent Ncho Kouach, Vice-Governor of Abidjan, Vice-President of Metropolis, also mentioned international solidarity. “We are glad to participate in this meeting of sharing and solidarity in the face of this pandemic. This meeting will allow us to discuss the challenges metropolitan areas are facing in the face of the pandemic and to see how to prepare for the post-COVID period. Most African metropolises have very vulnerable populations. We need to develop solidarity actions, and mainly awareness-raising, through communication. In Abidjan, this crisis was slowed down thanks to the intense communication carried out by the local authorities. International solidarity is essential at this time”.


Peer learning

The second part of the meeting was devoted to training and information sharing for representatives from the regional metropolises, as well as a metropolis from Europe and from South America. This session was moderated by Dr. Najat Zarrouk, Director of the African Local Government Academy (ALGA) of UCLG Africa.

North Africa

The cities of Tunis and Rabat shared their experiences of managing the pandemic. Ms. Souad Ben Abderrahim, Mayor of Tunis, and her team have introduced local policy based on 3 main measures: 1. Sensitization of local elected officials to their responsibility to impact the local population; 2. Strengthening of municipal services, particularly environmental services, and establishment of a large hygiene system through the creation of a Covid-19 care center, and; 3. The digitization of services as quarantine measures have led many services to promote remote work. “This situation has contributed to strengthening the partnership with civil society and with international partners (via donations and funding). The crisis has pushed the municipality to develop digitization and remote municipal services, as well as e-medicine and e-education,” Ms. Souad Ben Abderrahim.

Digitization has also been important for the city of Rabat in addition to the provision of food and housing for vulnerable people, including street children and migrants. The Mayor of the City of Rabat, Mr. Mohamed Sadiki, praised the synergy of action at the national and local levels. “This pandemic has pushed us to accelerate digitization at city level. As far as authorizations are concerned, everything was dematerialized and we organized a virtual digital festival with online shows. Among the lessons learnt, we saw the importance of setting up crisis management units, well beforehand, the need to strengthen social cohesion and the need for the empowerment of local governments and their resilience.

East Africa

In the Seychelles, the city of Victoria has not experienced any cases of community contamination. In response to the pandemic, preventive sanitary measures for both public and private spaces, has been introduced as well as measures for compliance, as seen across the world. Like his counterparts on the continent, Mayor David André has seen his municipality affected economically. “We are severely affected because our economy is based on tourism. The government is providing wages until December 2020. For the post-COVID period, we are working to diversify our economy through fishing and agriculture. We are implementing preventive measures to enable us to face future crises. We invest in programs and projects that will improve the lives of citizens. We rely a lot on international solidarity.”

In Madagascar, the capital city Antanarivo has launched a municipal hygiene code. Mr. Michkael Reilly Solofoniaina, standing in for the Mayor of the city, explained that the main difficulty was managing the population, as Antananarivo is a very big city. “The rainy season is approaching and we will launch the drainage channel cleaning project to prevent further spread of the virus. A Post-Covid financing plan has been validated for 11 million dollars. Special emphasis will have to be placed on digitizing and strengthening scientific research.



Central Africa

In Bangui, in the Central African Republic, six months after the arrival of the COVID pandemic, the municipality of the capital has been on the front line in the fight against the virus. The team, led by Mayor Emile Gros Raymond Nakombo, created a civil protection unit made up of 5,000 young people from each district to help parents and strengthen solidarity between the inhabitants. The municipal council has also created the municipal anti-COVID unit. The mayor noted the following pitfalls to be avoided in the fight against the pandemic: “One should avoid trivializing the disease, which risks relaunching the spread of the virus, anarchic constructions, social discrimination and exclusion, and one should avoid the loss of jobs. Within the political class, one should prevent politics from gaining the upper hand.

In Brazzaville, Congo, the municipality carried out awareness-raising activities in the neighborhoods by involving the neighborhood leaders to put the message across to the population. Mr. Guy Marie SOKANA, 1st Deputy Mayor of Brazzaville, noted the effectiveness of the actions of municipal teams in terms of regularizing market activities.

In Douala, Cameroon, locally elected officials from the business capital have joined forces and implemented the “Douala Stop Coronavirus” concept. The onset of the disease coincided with the installation of the mayors following the local elections of February 2020. Dr. Solle, 1st Deputy Mayor of Douala, indicated that a response committee bringing together the 6 district municipalities of Douala was put in place. “Local awareness-raising activities were carried out with a thousand young people who went door to door. Traditional structures were also involved. The current challenge is to ensure a safe school year. Hand washing devices have been installed in schools. At the city level, we have created an Environmental Affairs and Living Environment Department, which continue to improve the living conditions of the population, and an Economic Affairs Department, which deals with the attractiveness and competitiveness of the city.”

West Africa

Bamako, the Malian capital city, experienced a complexity of management issues of the pandemic during the 6 months of the socio-political crisis that Mali went through. The mayor of the District of Bamako, Mr. Adama Sangaré, revealed that the low rate of positive cases was due to the fact that very few people are tested. For the mayor, there should be more emphasis on awareness-raising, as some members of the population still do not believe in the existence of the disease. “We would have liked to have had more collaboration with the central government to raise awareness. Community centers do not have reagents to be used in the administration of the COVID test. For Greater Bamako, awareness campaigns have been initiated.

In Benin, the municipality of the capital city, Porto Novo, has benefited from funds made available by the government to carry out preventative actions on the ground. The Mayor, Yankoty Charlemagne, explained that he had involved religious leaders in the awareness-raising campaigns. “The central government has continued to support us. We received an endowment of $130,000 to promote preventative actions from October to December. The municipal council is free to carry out flagship activities. The priority was focused on the local workforce with the construction of hand washing facilities in schools and the construction of sheds to strengthen the reception capacity in the markets. The emphasis was placed on communication in local languages. In addition, one must rethink mobility at the metropolitan level and promote the use of digital tools,” he advised.

Mr. Mouctar Mamoudou, President of the Special Delegation of Niamey, also contributed to discussions concerning West Africa.

Southern Africa

Mr. Makone Ian, Vice-President of the city of Harare in Zimbabwe, called on research laboratories across the continent to get involved in international efforts. “Two hundred and twenty-eight people have died from COVID and we don’t have enough laboratories to perform the tests. We have learned the lessons from this pandemic and one of the most important ones is the need to collaborate with universities and research centers.

Europe and South America

Mr. Cecilio Cerdán, Director General for Cooperation and International Action in the city of Madrid, Spain, stressed that the pandemic had revealed the, “need to protect vulnerable people, the homeless, and children, but also to provide liquidity to businesses to avoid bankruptcies and closures. The measures around closures have been unpopular. Many people in Madrid needed immediate help and hotel rooms were made available. 60% of our next municipal budget will be devoted to the fight against the consequences of COVID.

Ms. Giorgia from the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, spoke about the importance of cooperation between cities at the international level.

Questions were moderated by Mr. Charles Patsika, Director of the Membership Department of UCLG Africa. The Governor of Kisumu, Kenya, Mr. Anyang’ Nyong’o explained how his city had had to adopt a new business plan to deal with the pandemic. “The halt in trade due to the lockdown has led us to wonder about the development model we have followed so far and which makes us dependent on the world market for our supplies, as well as for our income. Isn’t it time to put back on the agenda the import-substitution policy followed after independence and to insist on the absolute urgency of food self-sufficiency and of the transformation of food production?’ he urged.

A following contribution was made of Dr. Tifari of the Addis Ababa City Council, who highlighted the production capacity of masks and the presence of several testing sites in the Ethiopian capital.

Action plan and plan of activities of the African Metropolitan Network

The last session of the meeting focused on the establishment of the Forum of African Metropolises. Mr. Vincent Ncho Kouach, Vice-Governor of Abidjan, and Vice-President of Metropolis, reminded us that the Forum of African Metropolises and Cities was launched on November 22, 2018 in Marrakech, during the last Africities Summit. All the members present insisted that it was not a question of a new organization, but of a mechanism to be set up within the framework of the umbrella organization of local governments of the African continent, UCLG Africa.

The forum aims to be:

  1. A framework to strengthen cooperation between African metropolises;
  2. A space for debate, advocacy and a platform for the exchange of experiences, in order to contribute to the narrative on metropolitan governance, institutional models, vision and approaches to governance;
  3. A platform for managing and sharing knowledge in the field of metropolitan management;
  4. The united and strong voice of African metropolises, capable of influencing the Global Agenda and advocating within the AU, and finally, making an African contribution to the debates within the UCLG and Metropolis networks;
  5. A provider of solutions in the search for endogenous innovative financing and in the mobilization of investments for sustainable economic development leading to growth, wealth creation and jobs for young Africans;
  6. A place for experimentation with the peer review and learning mechanism in order to help implement the goals of the urban agendas and to discuss the development and implementation of appropriate tools;
  7. Strengthening cities’ diplomacy in areas such as migration management, living together, managing diversity in metropolitan areas and improving the quality of life of citizens.

Participants of the webinar praised this initiative and expressed their wish for its immediate implementation. They invited all the capital cities and all the millionaire cities to join the forum and recommended that the UCLG Africa secretariat initiate the necessary procedures for this purpose.

Identified Themes

Action points and flagship themes have been proposed to serve as work pillars for the Forum’s three-year action plan:

  • Planning for the economic and ecological transition;
  • Innovative financing and massive investment to build infrastructure;
  • Economic development;
  • Basic services: health, water, food systems and policies, and energy;
  • Social inclusion and sustainability;
  • Support for living together and migration issues (migration and urbanization);
  • Leadership in sustainable development and support to peripheral towns and municipalities through subsidiarity;
  • Inclusive and transparent metropolitan governance to become a credible partner in Africa’s development and for the implementation of the SDGs, the Climate Agenda, the New Urban Agenda and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 with institutions, but also with African populations;
  • Cities diplomacy.

The debate on a roadmap was initiated in Marrakech but has not been finalized.

Some avenues that have been proposed:

  • to be an observer within the AU or a privileged interlocutor.
  • to put the question of the urbanization of cities on the agenda of Heads of State and make it a subject of the African Union’s annual meeting;
  • to establish a tripartite dialogue for a true territorialization of public policies;
  • to have the charter on decentralization ratified by African states;
  • to define a clear political agenda and assume leadership around regional champions as locomotives;
  • to have a more detailed knowledge of statistics and data in our metropolises for effective decision-making in partnership with universities, the research community, think tanks, the private sector, and multilateral institutions;
  • to create a narrative of African metropolises and rethink the design of our cities.

Key messages

In conclusion, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi recalled the key messages to take away from the exchanges and debates of the webinar:

  1. We are all part of a global, urban ecosystem where metropolises are the interface between the national urban system, the continental urban system, and the global urban system. This interface makes metropolises the entry point for all that is good and bad on our continent. Metropolises are both the entry point for the virus and the point where the virus spreads across the country, but at the same time, they are the place where the struggle can be best organized, because they are the interface between the international, national and local levels of governance, and where a multi-level and multi-actor approach can be organized. It is important that the leaders of metropolises understand the leverage effect of metropolises through their role as an interface.
  2. Contrary to popular belief, public authorities were the authorities that steered the fight in the face of the virus, with the national government on the one hand and metropolitan governments and other local authorities on the other. Metropolitan governments and cities have shown greater responsiveness in the fight against the virus due to their proximity to the population. They are the agents who placed the emphasis on preventative health measures while at the national level the emphasis was placed on curative health. It is important to note that part of the success observed in Africa comes from the progress made in the implementation of environmental health and hygiene measures by metropolitan and municipal governments.
  3. COVID has highlighted a number of shortcomings in metropolitan and municipal administrations in the preparation and organization of relief for health and other disasters, especially in the planning and provision of funeral services. This is an area where metropolitan governments should cooperate more to improve this preparedness.
  4. COVID raises the need to revisit the development model in Africa, in that we need to reverse the trend of our over-reliance on imports and exports in the global market. Greater attention needs to be paid to self-reliance in food production and processing, import substitution and better distribution of human settlements, as well as a better use of urban areas and a better integration of urban functions.
  5. We need to learn more about ourselves, what we do and about what we can learn from international experience, including the experiences of metropolises. This is why the creation of an African Metropolitan Forum can only strengthen this mutual learning and this partnership, which would also participate in the construction of the necessary global partnership of metropolitan regions around the world, because metropolitan governments and cities will, after all, be the guardians of the human face of international relations and of solidarity.


The dynamics of the informal sector in African cities: Support methods & best practices for sustainable and inclusive local economic development (LED)

Long criticized, the informal sector is now recognized on a global and regional scale; its economic and social impact is such that it is considered an alternative to socio-economic crises and shocks; it is also seen as a shock absorber against shocks imposed by the labor market and the inexorable rise in unemployment, and referred to as support or promotional aid, especially since it is considered by the International Labor Office as “the goose that lays the golden eggs that creates jobs and wealth”[1]

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the informal sector is “a collection of units producing goods and services with the main purpose of creating jobs and income for those concerned. These units, having a low level of organization, operate on a small scale and in a specific way, with little or no division between labor and capital as factors of production. Labor relations, where they exist, are mainly based on casual employment, kinship relations or personal and social relations rather than on contractual agreements with formal guarantees.” [2]

Africa is the continent, which to date has the most people living in the informal sector. It represents the vast majority with 85.5% of informal jobs, including 71.9% outside agriculture[3]. Thus, the informal sector occupies a dominant place in African economies. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the informal sector shrinks according to the increase in income level. It accounts for around 40% of GDP, on average, for low-income countries and 35% of GDP for middle-income countries[4]. In addition, it is “an essential component of most sub-Saharan economies” with a contribution to GDP ranging between 25% and 65%, an estimated weight of between 30% and 90% of non-agricultural employment.[5].

Read more in the last issue of LEDNA Newsletter , here

Presentation of the ESSEC Grand Prizes for the City of Solidarity and Responsible Real Estate

The winners of the second edition of the ESSEC Grand Prizes for the City of Solidarity and Responsible Real Estate were announced on 21 September 2020 at a ceremony held at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal in Paris.

As in the first edition (2019), UCLG Africa is among the partners of the event alongside the International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF), the Federation of Real Estate and Property Companies (FSIF), the Métropole du Grand Paris (MGP), the Pavillon de l’Arsenal, the Abbé Pierre Foundation, Housing Europe, the Sustainable Building Plan, Solidarités Nouvelles pour le Logement (SNL) and Uniopss.

About sixty applications were registered in the 5 competing categories and 7 trophies were awarded, including special jury prizes.

The African City of Solidarity and Sustainability Prize was awarded for the initiative: Rural reintegration by the ASA: urban exodus, solution to rural exodus. ASA is a Malagasy association that offers homeless or at-risk families in Antananarivo a path to reintegration into agriculture. The rural reintegration project consists of training homeless Malagasy families in agriculture over a period of three years, enabling them to migrate to rural areas 300 km west of the capital. These new farmers become self-sufficient and become owners of their homes and land within a few years.

The jury particularly appreciated this project for its impact on the population of the slums of Antananarivo, its long-term vision of accompanying the beneficiaries through professional training for a sustainable solution over time (More details on the project here).

Other projects nominated in the category were: Sustainable waste management in the city of Lomé through selective sorting and recycling presented by African Science and Technology for Sustainable Development, Support Project for Housing Reconstruction in the Suburbs of Dakar, Senegal, presented by URBASEN and FSH, Manguissa Eco Neighborhood presented by Messibat International, Ecodome Maroc presented by Youness Ouazri and Program Ecocollect, presented by RED PLAST.

The winners of the other categories are:

Grand Paris Prize for Urban Innovation: Weco, a project led by the Quatorze association in Metz, Triel-sur-Seine and Montreuil ( More info)

Hospital City Award: Lodgings for a new form of social housing for homeless families, a project led by the Samu Social de Paris et Galia (More info)

Responsible and Innovative Housing Award: Living in the Beguinage, a project led by the Vivr’Alliance Group, France Béguinages and the Association Vivre en Béguinage (More Info)

Solidarity Financing and Sustainable City Award: Solifap, the solidarity investment company that fights for better housing (More info)

Special Jury Prize: Day care and therapeutic apartments for autistic children and young adults by the Association Le Silence des Justes by Quartus Résidentiel.  (More Info)

Special Jury Mention: (Special Mention exceptionally awarded by the jury to a candidate to salute all of their solidarity actions): awarded to Julien Beller, architect. (More Info).

Consult the presentation brochure for details of the winners.

Cities and Local Responses in the Management of the Coronavirus Pandemic in Africa: Sub-regional Consultations for Eastern and Southern Africa

The Coordination for the Africa Region of the International Observatory for Participatory Democracy (IODP Africa), in collaboration with Enda ECOPOP, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) and its ALGA Academy, have launched a series of regional consultations on the response of cities and localities in the management of the coronavirus pandemic in Africa.

On 03 September and 15 September 2020, the 4th and 5th consultations for the Eastern and Southern Africa region were held.

The objective of the consultations is to share and discuss the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic in African cities through lived experiences, impact on local development, democracy and citizen participation and to advocate for the support of IOPD Africa activities.

Both sessions were moderated by Mr. Bachir Kanouté, IOPD Coordinator for Africa and ENDA-Ecopop.

Mr. Jean Pierre Elong MBASSI, Secretary General of UCLG Africa was represented by Dr. Najat ZARROUK, Director of ALGA of UCLG Africa.

UCLG Africa, through its Academy, has sought to mobilize speakers from South Africa, Mauritius, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia to present their experiences and responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read the scoping note here.

Guangzhou Award Submission Deadline Extension

2020 marks the beginning of the 5th cycle of the Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation (Guangzhou Award). As always, we encourage cities and local governments around the world to share their innovative practices in supporting the local implementation of the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda.

Unfortunately, the beginning of the year saw the whole world affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Too many lives are being lost and public health is at risk. An unprecedented number of cities, regions and communities have been affected, economically, socially, culturally and psychologically as a result of prolonged physical distancing and lock-downs.

Many cities and regions have expressed their keen interest in joining the 5th cycle. But the COVID-19 crisis has made their application difficult and the submission deadline easily missed. Further to their requests, the Guangzhou Award Organizing Committee has decided to adjust the deadlines as follows:

  • Early bird submission deadline extended to: 23:59:59 (UTC+08:00), 30th September 2020;
  • Final submission deadline extended to: 23:59:59 (UTC+08:00), 31st October 2020.

There is no doubt that the pandemic has also exposed and highlighted challenges in achieving the SDGs, especially Goal 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 10. What COVID-19 has brought to the fore is that we neglect primary health care, basic infrastructure and services, decent housing and decent work at our own peril. Never before has a singular event revealed the weaknesses and failures of these systems and their governance.

Cities and regions are most welcome to share their initiatives in responding to the pandemic. We are all too aware of the delicate balance between containment and mitigation, and the transition from emergency response and mitigation to recovery.

Applications are also welcome with forward looking post COVID-19 initiatives regarding how cities and regions are rethinking of their local governance mechanisms, reconsideration of the urban morphology and typology, addressing of the problems exposed, and improving the resilience of urban economy.

We look forward to your receiving and sharing your initiatives for a more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable living place for all.

About the Guangzhou Award

The Guangzhou Award is co-sponsored by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), World Association of the Major Metropolises (Metropolis), and City of Guangzhou, and supported by ICLEI and C40. The award aims to recognize innovation in improving social, economic and environmental sustainability in cities and regions and, in so doing, to advance the prosperity and quality of life of their citizens.


The Guangzhou Award is open to all local governments worldwide, including members of UCLG, Metropolis, ICLEI and C40.

Assessment Criteria

The criteria that are applied to the Guangzhou Award assessment include: innovativeness, effectiveness, replicability/transferability, significance and relevance of the initiative to the SDGs and the NUA.

What to expect

●       Up to 15 shortlisted cities and up to 30 deserving cities will be discerned and selected by the Technical Committee. All 45 cities will be featured in specialized publications and many will be invited to share their experiences in international events.

●       2 representatives of each of the 15 shortlisted cities will be invited to share lessons learned at the International Seminar on Learning from Urban Innovation. This seminar will be held under the framework of the ‘Global Mayors Forum 2020, XIII METROPOLIS World Congress 2020 & 2020 Guangzhou Award’.

●       Up to 5 winners among the shortlisted cities will be selected by the Jury and each will be granted US$ 20,000, a trophy and a commemorative certificate; shortlisted cities other than the winners will be granted Medals of Honour.

●       The shortlisted city that obtains the most votes in the ‘Online Vote: The City of Your Choice‘ will be recognized as the ‘Online Popular City‘.

Timetable of 2020 Guangzhou Award (Updated on 29th May 2020)

How to submit

Fill out and submit the application form at:


More details can be found in the following attached files:

Rules and Procedures

Submission Guidelines (Updated on 29th May 2020)

Application form (with deadlines updated on 29th May 2020)

The 5th Guangzhou Award and COVID-19


Towards a post-Covid-19 economic and financial recovery of local and regional governments in Africa : Overview of recovery plans and economic support measures

The health wave of the Covid-19 pandemic seems less important than those experienced in Europe and Asia. However, Africa remains fragile in terms of health with coverage rates of health structures among the lowest in the world, and all the more so as successive waves of the pandemic are to be feared. In all countries, central, regional and local governments have anticipated by taking the barrier measures that have slowed the spread of the disease. If the contamination figures remain at low levels, the repercussions of the measures taken to prevent the pandemic from developing could call into question the progress made over the past decade in terms of improving the living conditions of the populations.

The economic situation is therefore likely to deteriorate structurally to the point where the African Development Bank (AfDB) forecasts that “nearly 50 million Africans will fall into extreme poverty and that a third of Africans, or 425 million people., live below the poverty line[1]“. The face of this poverty will largely be represented by the increasing numbers of slum dwellers in our cities and informal sector workers [2].

At the territorial level, the impact is likely to be greater according to UCLG Africa [3], particularly in terms of financial resources and investment expenditure of local authorities. The results of simulations carried out from two scenarios[4], based on data from the Observatory of Local Finances, suggest a real collapse in the financial resources of local authorities, of the order of 30% to 60% depending on the regions of Africa and the sizes of cities. As for investment expenditure, their level will drop by around 25% to 40% depending on the regions of Africa and the sizes of cities ; the level of investment spending would be close to 0 for small towns and intermediate towns[5].

On another level, many analysts agree that beyond the issue s of public health, management of the pandemic now questions the development model that most states have adopted in the context of globalization. Beyond issues related to the development of short circuits rather than long circuits, the territorialization of public policies must be at the heart of the changes to come. Among these, the local authorities must, while managing the emergency and the daily problems, put in place the conditions for anticipating the changes that will take place in the long term.

To organize the process of exiting the crisis, it is important to have in sight not only the response to the emergency, but also the implementation of strategies to revive economic activity. The local authorities should fight Covid-19 in three – and often overlapping – phases:

Read more in the latest issue of LEDNA’s bimonthly Newsletter, available here

Call for contribution to the Issue N°4  of the AFRICAN LOCAL MANAGER VOICE



As part of the activities of the Local Africa Network HRnet and the Observatory of Local Human Resources in Africa of UCLG Africa, a call for contribution for the issue  N° 4 of the “African Local Manager Voice”,  is open.

The theme of this second issue is : “Managing the Human Resources of Local Government in Africa in Time of Covid-19 Pandemic and beyond: between Lockdown, Continuity of Local Public Services, Isolation and Work-From-Home”.


The newsletter is mainly open to contributions from African Territorial Managers regardless of their field of activity or professional field. However, in a spirit of openness to the environment of African Territorial Communities and Benchmarking, any other contribution having an added value.

Contributions are expected before 15 Novembre 2020.

Read More here.

Celebration of the African Day of Decentralization and Local Development 2020: the contribution of local authorities to conflict prevention and peacekeeping on the continent

On 10 August 2020, UCLG Africa is organizing a webinar for the African Day of Decentralization and Local Development (ADD). The meeting will be held online from 2:00pm to 4:30pm on the theme selected by the African Union for the 2020 edition, “The contribution of local authorities to conflict prevention and peacekeeping on the continent.”

This theme is inspired by the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the decision of the continent’s heads of state who proclaimed 2020 as the year, “Silencing the guns: creating the conditions for Africa’s development”.

UCLG Africa welcomes this theme, which is all the more justified as conflicts and wars primarily affect populations and communities at the local level. When violent conflicts occur, victims often find their first aid comes from the local population or authorities. It is often the local authorities that are faced with receiving displaced people or migrants due to situations of open conflict or war. Local and regional authorities are therefore in the front line both in conflict prevention and in dealing with post-conflict situations.

As the umbrella organization of local and regional governments of the continent, UCLG Africa will contribute to this webinar by exploring two sub-themes selected by the African Union:

Sub-theme 1: “The participation of Africa’s local and regional authorities in the African Union’s conflict early warning system.

Sub-theme 2: “The contribution of local and regional authorities in Africa for the reconstruction of peace and harmony between communities in post-conflict situations.”

The first panel will address the crucial involvement of territorial authorities in the African Union’s early warning system on conflicts. Participants will reflect on how to improve the system via the contribution of local and regional authorities, in particular:

  • how to articulate the different levels of public governance and apply the principle of subsidiarity in the prevention and management of conflicts and in the treatment of post-conflict situations;
  • The role local authorities should play.

The second panel will draw on the many post-conflict situations encountered on the continent and discuss the role that local authorities play or could play when returning to peace. Participants will develop proposals by answering the following questions:

  • How can we ensure that all the actors involved are indeed stakeholders in the peace talks?
  • What mechanisms should be put in place to ensure that the return to peace is a shared responsibility?
  • What specific role should women and youth play in building peace and harmony between groups and communities?
  • What initiatives should be taken at the local authority level so that the return of tensions can be avoided?

Proceedings will be chaired by Mr. Léandre Nzué, Mayor of Libreville (Gabon) and President of UCLG Africa in the presence of presidents of national associations of local and regional governments, representatives of the African Union, representatives of international organizations and academics, amongst others.

It should be noted that the African Day of Decentralization and Local Development was decreed by the African Union in 2012 at its first celebration.

Since 2014, African heads of state and government have adopted the African charter on the values and principles of decentralization, local governance and local development. This charter recognizes local and regional authorities as privileged partners of national governments in the promotion of the well-being of their populations.

The media are invited to attend the webinar (registration by return email) or by following the live webcast on UCLG Africa’s Facebook page, Monday 10 August 2020 from 2 pm to 4:30 pm.

For further information, please contact:

Gaëlle Yomi: Tel: + 212 610 56 71 45



African Local Governments saddened by the death of Dr. Alioune Badiane

Local Africa mourns the death of one of Africa’s most influential advocates of the New Urban Agenda, Dr. Alioune Badiane. During the memorial organized and anchored by UN-Habitat, held on the 4th of August 2020, members of the international development fraternity came together to celebrate the life and achievements of Dr Alioune Badiane.

Read the tribute of UCLG Africa Secretary General, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi , here.

Theme of the African Day of Decentralization and Local Development (ADD) 2020: “The Contribution of Local Authorities to conflict prevention and Peacekeeping on the Continent”

The African Day of Decentralization and Local Development (ADD) is celebrated on August 10 of each year. For 2020, the African Union has chosen the following theme: «The contribution of local authorities to conflict prevention and peacekeeping on the Continent “.

This theme is inspiring from the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the decision of the Heads of State in declaring 2020 as the year on “Silencing the Guns on the continent: creating conducive conditions Africa’s development”.

The Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission in the verbal note specifies the sub-themes that accompany the celebration of ADD 2020.

“Sub-theme 1: “The participation of Africa’s local and regional authorities in African Union’s conflict early warning system“.

Sub-theme 2: “The contribution of local and regional authorities in Africa to the reconstruction of peace and harmony between communities in post-conflict situations“.

As every year, UCLG Africa invites the local and regional authorities of the continent to mark this celebration.

Consult the concept note on the theme and sub-themes here