Lauching of the Refela Gambian Chapter

On 5 and 6 October 2019, the group of Gambian women mayors and local elected representatives chaired by Mrs Rohey Lowe, Mayor of Banjul Municipality, in partnership with UCLG Africa and UNDP, launched the Gambian National Chapter of REFELA (the network of Locally Elected Women in Africa).

The Mayor of Banjul, Rohey Lowe presided over the official launching at the Atlantic Hotel of Banjul. This launch was technically supported by the REFELA secretariat and the Network’s presidency, with the REFELA focal point, the Mayor of Banjul.

Mayor Lowe said the launch will mark a turning point in the aspiration of Gambian women in all areas of development. She explained that REFELA is the standing committee on gender equality of UCLG Africa. In accordance with REFELA’s Rules of Procedure, the new Gambian national chapter will be the Gender Commission of the National Association of Gambian Local Authorities.

She further disclosed that the campaign to better the lives of women as advocated by REFELA took a very positive turn through her election as the first woman Mayor of the Capital City of Banjul.

But the situation is more challenging for rural women whose active participation in governance especially in Local Government has been largely absent. And if the current situation remains unchecked the status of women with respect to active participation in electoral process and governance will only get worse,” she warned.

According to Mayor Lowe, women constitute far more than half of the population and they also constitute about 54% of all registered voters, yet they lack representation despite forming the majority.

Even though women are known to be loyal supporters and form the base of their political parties, they are still grossly under-represented in the hierarchy of their own parties and in other elective offices in the country“.

As mentioned in the Roadmap, all of the Sustainable Development Goals have targets directly related to the responsibilities of local and regional governments,” she disclosed.

Mayor Lowe called on women to be committed to the goals set by 2030 for Gambian women to reach remarkable heights in the political and economic development of the country.

The Gambian chapter of REFELA is already engage in the mains REFELA Campaigns :

Ø The Campaign for African Cities without Street Children ( Watch video of REFELA Gambia)

Ø The Campaign for African Cities’ Zero Tolerance to Violence Against Women and Girls (Watch video of REFELA Gambia )

Ø The Campaign for African Cities for Women’s Economic Empowerment

The launching of the Gambian chapter of REFELA, follow the dynamique impulse by REFELA after the last Africities8 Summit, held in November 2018 in Marrakech (Morocco).  On June 2019, another national chapter of REFELA was launch in Namibia, followed by the launch of REFELA chapter of Eswatini (Ex Swaziland).

Watch the resume of the lauching  ceremony fo REFELA Namibia.

UCLG Africa invites local and regional authorities to support OOAM’s advocacy for the ratification of the AU Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons

UCLG Africa joins the advocacy launched by the West African Migration Observatory for the ratification of the African Union Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons by AU Member States.  Freedom of movement is a right within the meaning of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and this right is essential for the development of our  territories at local level.

UCLG Africa invites the continent’s local authorities, through their national associations, to take this fight to national governments. Local governments have a key role to play in bringing this protocol to fruition.

Below is the content of the advocacy, highlighting 5 major arguments for successful mobilization.

The Protocol to the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community, concerning the free movement of persons, the right of residence and the right of establishment, was adopted at the 30th ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on January 29, 2018. Twenty-one (21) countries signed it on March 21, 2018, at the extraordinary summit of the African Union in Kigali (Rwanda). To enter into force, the protocol must be ratified by 15 member states of the African Union. This document is a line of argument elaborated by the West African Observatory on Migrations to convince the States about the benefits for Africa on the ratification of the protocol.

  • Argument of African Integration

The free movement of people on the African continent was one of the ambitions of the fathers of African independence who wanted to return to the freedom of movement that our ancestors had before colonization. Since the creation of the Organization of African Unity in 1963, subsequently with the establishment of the African Economic Community in 1991 and the African Union in 2002, African leaders have always emphasized the need to facilitate the mobility of Africans on their soil. The protocol on the free movement of people makes this dream come true. The ratification of the protocol on the free movement of persons by States is therefore an important step for the African Integration.

  • Humanist Argument

All men are born free and equal. But not all men are equal in the face of mobility. Depending on his nationality, an African citizen may be refused a visa or the right to travel to another African country. In addition, the administrative and financial requirements for visa applications create many obstacles that lead Africans to pay for expensive tickets at the last minute because the visa is issued late. According to the African Development Bank[1] , it is easier for an American tourist to travel in Africa than to an African businessman. The entry into force of the protocol will abolish once and for all the visa requirement for Africans who will thus be able to visit Africa more easily in order to discover its cultural wealth and to carry out fraternal exchanges between the populations.

  • Economic Argument

The launch of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in Africa is a historic opportunity to facilitate trade, tourism and industrialization on the continent. The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) estimates that the implementation of the CFTA could increase intra Africa trade by 52% by 2022[2]. However, the benefits of this free trade zone cannot be achieved if Africans cannot move freely on their continent to make known and sell their products. The creation of a single market for air transport in Africa is also an important step forward that is changing the future of the African continent. The abolition of the visa requirement for African citizens traveling on the continent will allow everyone to be able to pay his plane ticket safely to make his trip. This will lead to increased transport and trade between African countries. In view of the economic benefits, African states have an interest in ratifying the protocol on free movement in Africa.

  • Sovereignty and Security Argument

The African Union’s protocol on the free movement of people does not put an end to the borders of States or their sovereignty on their soil. African States will have, according to the texts of the protocol, the right to control and register the people who enter and leave their territory. The contribution of the protocol lies mainly in the facilitation it gives to the mobility of Africans on the continent by allowing them to travel without a visa. States may also, if the situation so requires, raise reasons of security, health or protection of their environment to restrict the entry into their territory of persons considered to be detrimental to the stability of their country. Ratification of the protocol should not pose a problem since it takes into account the security concerns of States. It is also important to know that the protocol allows states to put in place, in successive phases, the related commitments, starting with the free movement of persons before reaching the rights of residence and establishment.

  • Scientific Argument

Academic exchanges, recognition of diplomas and the qualifications of the workforce are taken into account by the protocol. Thus thanks to the free movement of people, there will be more mobility for studies, exchanges between researchers, offers of seasonal or temporary services of competent people in various spaces in Africa. The protocol is therefore beneficial for a better sharing of knowledge among Africans, to increase technological innovation as well as the number of interuniversity scientific research in Africa.

[1] Africa Visa Openness Report :


Visit the West African Migration Observatory  website.

Press Release -UCLG Africa welcomes the release of Khalifa Ababacar Sall

The African community of local and regional governments regrouped within the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) welcomes the release of Khalifa Ababacar Sall, former Mayor of the City of Dakar after 2.5 years in detention.

UCLG Africa is delighted to be able to count on the talents of one of its best leaders who, as President of UCLG Africa from 2012 to 2016, has made our organisation’s voice heard with dignity in Africa and in the world.

During these two and a half years of absence, Khalifa Ababacar Sall’s determined, combative, but also constructive and visionary character will have failed his peers in Africa and other regions of the world, especially the members of the world organization of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).

UCLG Africa fervently hopes to count once again on the commitment and leadership of Khalifa Ababacar Sall in order to carry ever higher the flag of a local Africa determined to contribute to the continuous improvement of the living conditions of the populations, committed to the achievement of sustainable human development and the unity of the continent, and determined to defend democracy, decentralization, and respect for freedom and human rights for all.

The Secretary General
Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi

Download the press release here

UCLG Africa and Mayors from five major African cities participate in the first capacity-building workshop arranged by the new Urban and Municipal Development Fund (UMDF) at AfDB

Mayors from Antananarivo, Madagascar; Bizerte, Tunisia; Conakry, Republic of Guinea; Dodoma, Tanzania; and Libreville, Gabon, worked together with international urban experts at the Cities Leadership Workshop organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) on 25 and 26 September in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

In April 2019, the African Development Bank launched the Urban and Municipal Development Fund (UMDF) to support African cities and municipalities to improve their resilience and better manage sustainable urban growth and development through planning, governance and quality of public services. The fund is structured around four main pillars: improving urban planning, improving project preparation (pre-investment phase), improving municipal governance and finance, and increasing support for integrated urban development.

The objective of the workshop was to test the proposed methodology and approach for intervening in African cities. The workshop allowed the mayors to present visions for their cities, major challenges they face and opportunities. The workshop included a number of international urban experts from both AfDB and research institutions plus representatives from important city networks such as the Cities Alliance and the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) , who was represented by Dr. François Yatta, Director of Programmes at UCLG Africa.

The meeting also provided UCLG Africa with a forum to deepen discussions with the AfDB’s Department of Infrastructure and Urban Development regarding the Bank’s contribution to the production of the next report on the institutional environment of local and regional government in Africa , as well as with the AfDB’s Financial Sector Development Department for technical support to the Territorial Africa Agency . These exchanges augur well for fruitful collaboration between the two institutions on these issues.

The Urban and Municipal Development Fund (UMDF) of the African Development Bank is a multi-donor Trust Fund intended to scale up interventions in urban development and drive sustainable growth in cities across the African continent.

More information on UMDF :




“Capacity building in the work place is very important”, Pam Belcher- Taylor, Mayor of Paynesville (Liberia)

Pam Belcher-Taylor is the mayor of Paynesville, the largest city in Liberia and home to approximately 320,000 people. Since her arrival in 2018 she has placed the capacity building of human resources as one of the main pillars of her mandate, especially for women and girls in the work place.  This has seen the creation of women’s groups to help young women who live on the streets to change their life conditions and gain work skills.

In this video Mayor Pam Belcher-Taylor talks about some of the projects initiated by her municipality and gives advice to youth who want to engage in politics.

Mayor Pam Belcher-Taylor shared Paynesville’s experience with other African local authorities during the  3rd edition of the Forum of Territorial Managers and Training Institutes targeting the Local Level in Africa (FAMI), which was organized by the African Local Government Academy (ALGA) of UCLG Africa, 10 -14 June, 2019 in Ifrane (Morocco).

Watch the interview below. 

View the presentation of Paynesville Projects  Here



Training of 23 local actors, municipal elected official and administrative officer of the municipal technical and financial partners on «Local Governance»

Within the framework of the Strategic Partnership between UCLG Africa and the National Capacity Building Programme for Cities Management (PNFMV) on the one hand, and the implementation of the College of Local Governance of the African Local Governments Academy (ALGA), the city of Yaounde hosted, from 16 to 20 September 2019, the first Training Session on the theme of: “Local Governance”.

This Training Session aims to raise awareness and strengthen the capacities of local actors on the issues and challenges of Local Governance, in a context of challenges and opportunities for African Local Governments.

The opening ceremony of this Session was marked by three speeches, namely, the welcome of the Vice-President of the United Councils and Cities of Cameroon (CVUC), the intervention of the representative of UCLG Africa – ALGA and the opening speech of the personal representative of the Minister of Housing and Urban Development (MINHDU).

In his welcome address, Mr. Albert Anicet AKOA, Vice-President of CVUC, praised the partnership between UCLG Africa – ALGA and the PNFMV in these terms: “I would like to magnify the excellence of the partnership between UCLG-Africa through its Academy and the PNFMV, for the development of the capacities and the skills of the Human Resources of African Local Governments, one of the weak links of the processes of decentralization in Africa. One of the result of which is the holding of this training session on the Local Governance, following the 1st International Training Session on Decentralized Cooperation organized in July 2019 “.

The Vice-President did not fail to make the link between the theme and SDG 11 to show the importance of this training in the eyes of local elected officials of Cameroon.

In his speech, Mr. Joachim HUNLEDE, representing the Director of ALGA of UCLG Africa, reminded the noble mission entrusted to ALGA by the local elected officials of the Continent, namely “to support and accompany the Members and the UCLG-Africa networks in their quest for visibility, autonomy, good governance, professionalism and performance “, which cannot succeed or be fruitful without the involvement and commitment of all stakeholders concerned by this dynamic, namely the State Representatives, Local Governments and their Associations, Training Institutes and Anchoring Institutes of ALGA, the Community of Experts and Trainers as well as the Financial and Technical Partners.

Read more

Registration for Climate Chance Summit – Africa 2019

The first Climate Chance Summit – Africa in 2018 gathered the actors around operational road maps, to prepare the specific messages of the African continent, to show engagement, and to specify the demands and proposals of the local actors who are fighting against climate change in Africa. The African position was presented during different international climate events, notably during the Global Climate Action Summit in California, as well as it has contributed to the Talanoa Dialogue in COP24.

The second edition of the Climate Chance Summit – Africa in 2019 will insure the continuity of the first edition et will be spread on three days. For a second time, it will gather the subnational governments and climate non-state actors in Africa, eventually proposing a call for proposals that will reinforce the African sectoral coalitions hosted and supported by Climate Chance and that will feed our cartography of actions in Africa. It will also allow to work more thoroughly on the sectoral and operational roadmaps that were established in June 2018 in Abidjan and to reinforce the adopted engagements.

Local governments, busineses, NGOs, trade unions, scientists, representatives from agricultural, youth, women and indigenous organisations, citizens, are invited to take part in the Climate Chance Africa Summit 2019 to show the progress of their actions across Africa, to deepen the analysis of successes and difficulties, to promote the pooling of experiences and innovations, to point out solutions for a more significant scale and highlight the opportunities for new initiatives emerging from climate action in the African continent. By promoting these exchanges between stakeholders from different families, this resolutely action-oriented summit will make it possible to:

  • Stimulate the operational mobilization of non-state actors that must accelerate the implementation of the commitments made by States at COP21.
  • Consolidate the dynamics of cooperation between non-state actors who are still working in isolation.
  • Dialogue between non-state actors that have an international influence with actors more focused on their local issues in Africa to allow an adequate articulation between local issues and global issues.

Register for free here

4 formats

  • Plenary sessions with key people from the climate action in Africa.
  • Workshops of the African Coalitions, reinforced by a call for contributions, to work on the advancement and the development of the sectoral and thematic African road maps (energy, mobility, agriculture, adaptation and water, access to finance, urban planning, circular economy etc.)
  • Focus sessions to follow-up on the important initiatives in Africa.
  • Side-Events dedicated to the activites of our partners : CoMSSA, UCLG Africa, IFDD, etc.

9 themes

  • Access to climate finance in Africa
  • Developing African cities in a sustainable way
  • Agriculture, food and reforestation in Africa
  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency in Africa
  • Mobility and sustainable transport in Africa
  • Adaptation and Water in Africa
  • Sustainable Building and Construction in Africa
  • Education and Training on Climate Change in Africa
  • Circular economy in Africa

Organisation of the themed workshops

These workshops will be the occasion to gather the subnational and non-state actors in their diversity in order to :

  • Present 2 or 3 good inspiring practices from the call for proposals launched during the Africa Climate Week.
  • Do the follow-up (evaluation after a year) on the sectoral road maps that were defined during the first edition of the Climate Chance Summit Africa 2018

Each workshop should lead collectively to the development of the sectoral and operational roadmaps, that are meant to create a favorable environment to action, to spread the strategic information and to reinforce the climate action in Africa. It would be thus important to take stock at the defined objectives in each road map, and at the indicators of the action’s advancement, etc

Communiqué on the attacks on African migrants in South Africa

The media and social networks show unsustainable images of African migrants being attacked in South Africa under the pretext that they take the work away from nationals. It will be recalled that just before the general elections held in May 2019, such acts were also perpetrated, which provoked an outraged protest reaction from the African dean of the diplomatic corps to the Republic of South Africa. The regular recurrence of these acts of xenophobia in a country that has enjoyed an unprecedented outpouring of solidarity from other African countries in its liberation struggle continues to raise questions about the nature of the political and civic education provided by the authorities to their fellow citizens.

For its part, the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) denounces these acts, which do not honor the people who commit them and damage the image of South Africa and Africa as a whole. UCLG Africa recalls that the leaders of African local and regional governments meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, in December 2015 and in Marrakesh, Morocco, in November 2018, adopted a charter of African local and regional governments on migration which unambiguously condemns all acts of xenophobia, discrimination and injustice against migrants, and instead establishes local authorities as protectors of migrant populations whose welcome and integration into local communities is guaranteed by them.

UCLG Africa therefore calls on its members in South Africa to comply with the principles set out in the Charter of Local and Regional Governments of Africa on Migration and to act without delay to protect the rights of migrants living within their jurisdiction and bring to justice the perpetrators of acts of aggression against migrants solely because they are, to formally apologize to the individuals, families and communities affected by such acts, and to consider possible remedies and compensation for their benefit.

UCLG Africa is happy to see that SALGA has taken a clear stand against these abominable acts, showing the resolve of the South Africa Local Government Community not to tolerate these shameful behaviors.

UCLG Africa encourages SALGA and its members in South Africa to engage in immediate and in-depth historical and civic education work targeting residents of their constituencies in collaboration with civil society organisations to create conditions conducive to harmony between migrants and local communities and to living together in peace.

Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi,

Secretary General of UCLG Africa


Dowload the PDF here.

Read the charter of African local and regional governments on migration here.

“There is a need for local authorities to understand that architects are there to provide urban policy solutions,” Vinesh Chintaram, Secretary General of the African Union of Architects (AUA)

At the 3rd edition of the Forum of Territorial Managers and Training Institutes targeting the Local Level in Africa (FAMI), the Secretary General of the African Union of Architects (AUA), Vinesh Chintaram, highlighted the need for greater collaboration between local authorities and architects from the continent.

See the video below (in french; also available as a transcript) recorded at the end of the FAMI, which was organized by the African Local Government Academy (ALGA) of UCLG Africa, 10 -14 June 2019, in Ifrane (Morocco).

Given that over 1.3 billion Africans will live in cities by 2050, what contribution can African architects bring to local and regional authorities that face the challenge of urbanization? 

The training of architects is not solely limited to technical support.  We can also provide many solutions for the transformation of cities ranging from city planning to urban planning codes, in order to create cohesion between the development and dynamism of cities.  It is through the integration of these parameters that we can create development that is controlled and manageable. There is a lot of talk about the management of cities. What we need to understand is that cities must also be autonomous. It is this self-management that allows cities to generate financing for their development and for the maintenance of the city, such as the physical maintenance of building infrastructures, as well as providing activities and services to the urban population.


How can African local and regional authorities work in concrete ways, with the continent’s architects, whether in cities or rural areas, to ensure that they have buildings that are adapted to our realities?

There are issues relating to buildings that do not necessarily reflect the context in which they are built. As an architect, we must consider that we are there to promote sustainable development that adapts to a context, a climate and a culture. We cannot do this without consultation or without the participation of the inhabitant directly concerned, which we are doing more and more now, because there is an awareness of the need for interaction with the public. This is called the participatory approach.  This really means understanding what they need, in terms of ease of use of buildings and facilities. I think there is a need for public decision-makers and local elected officials to understand that architects are there to provide solutions that can be urban policy solutions, to understand people, their expectations and transform the perception of these expectations into reality. Local and regional authorities have everything to win by integrating urban planners, architects and all those involved in spatial planning and the implementation of infrastructure projects.