Africa Territorial Agency and Network of Young Local Elected Officials Tools for local governance

From 11-15 November, 2019, Durban, South Africa, hosted the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders. 3000 participants took part in this event, organized every 3 years by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).

During the five days, UCLG Africa made significant contributions through the organization of and participation in twenty sessions. African local and regional elected officials mobilized by UCLG Africa took part in the debates and shared their experiences on themes relating to local finance, urbanization, gender equality, migration, human capital, cultural policies, mobility, climate, territorial development financing and youth

“Whatever its size, a community has a practice to share. Each territorial community present at the congress should share a good practice, whatever the theme.” Mohamed Sadiki, Mayor of Rabat, Morocco

See a review of the highlights of the sessions for local Africa. (Part One).
The founding club of the Africa Territorial Agency is on track

Durban marked a major step in the establishment of the Africa Territorial Agency. This UCLG Africa vehicle, which aims to give local authorities access to financial markets, saw the first meeting of members of the Agency’s founding club held on 11 November, 2019. The meeting was chaired by Mr Léandre Nzué, President of UCLG Africa. In his opening speech, Mr. Nzué reiterated the importance of this vehicle, which aims to strengthen the capacity of local authorities to act in solidarity and the necessity that, “information circulate on this now unavoidable tool, but also to dissipate all the shadows in order to enable all the actions necessary for the rapid entry into cooperation of the ATA.”

The founding club of the ATA is composed of the cities that have subscribed to inject 100 thousand euros to be part of this cooperative society. They will be the majority shareholders of the capital of this Agency. To date, 44 cities have already registered.

Faced with the density of financial resources required to successfully manage their municipality, recourse to the financial market is a viable gateway for elected officials. Indeed, it is estimated that around 100 billion dollars of investment per year is needed by African local authorities to improve the living conditions of current populations and future generations. “This is equivalent to nearly 5.5% of the continent’s GDP. Four-fifths of these infrastructures are the responsibility of local authorities,” says François Paul Yatta, Director of Programs at UCLG Africa. By going to the financial market with the ATA, local authorities will be able to enjoy the following advantages:

  • ssue bonds that will interest investors.
  • Reduce interest rates;
  • Reduce transaction costs (If local and regional authorities go into the financial market individually, the interest rate on transactions will be at an almost unbearably high level);
  • Provide a guarantee system that reassures investors through the ATA;
  • Enable small local authorities to have access to the financial market (within the ATA, the most endowed cities will have to join forces with the less fortunate cities. This will allow them to have access to financial market resources);
  • Mobilize money to cover the needs of local authorities.
  • How it works?

    The capital required for the agency is 20 million euros, hence the reason why 100 local authorities are needed, each of which will inject 100 thousand euros, so that they will hold 51.1% of the capital. This will allow local and regional authorities to hold the authorship of this instrument. Loans will be made on the basis of a simple procedure. The African Development Bank is a partner of the ATA with its participation divided into 4 categories: Present in the capital of the agency; Guarantor of the Africa Territorial Agency, which will allow the agency to have easier access to the financial market, but also to have loans at lower cost; the AfDB will be able to subscribe to ATA issues and support the rating program, which is intended to upgrade AAT cities so that they are able to lend and repay.

    Roadmap for the future

    2020: Two meetings planned – One to approve the economic and risk management model and a second meeting to approve the institutional structure and the various rules of the ATA.

    2021: Presentation of the agency to investors and preparation of the first issue;

    2022: Completion of the first issue and start of the first loans to local authorities.

    On the basis of this detailed presentation made by Mr. Yatta, the participants in the meeting gave themselves until the end of 2019 to finalize the choice of the 5 cities that will sit on the provisional supervisory board of the cooperative company of the Africa Territorial Agency. Two cities have already signed up. These are Dakar (Senegal) for the West Africa region and Eldoret (Kenya) for the East Africa region. The other three cities will be selected by the end of 2019 for the Central, North and Southern Africa regions.

    The meeting was attended by: Mr Léandre Nzué, Mayor of Libreville (Gabon), President of UCLG Africa, Mrs Souam Soham El Wardini, Mayor of Dakar (Senegal), Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the West African region, Mr Innocent Uwimana, President of the Rwandan Association of Local Authorities and Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the Eastern Africa region, Mr David André, Mayor of Victoria (Seychelles), Mr. Emile Gros Raymond Nakombo, Mayor of Bangui (Central African Republic), Mr. Vincent N’cho Kouaoh, Deputy Governor of Abidjan District (Côte d’Ivoire), Ms. Fatouma Awaleh Osman, Mayor of Djibouti, Mr. Allan Samu Mmadi, President of Mangochi Municipal Council (Malawi), Mr. Lomoyang Joseph, President of the Uganda Local Government Association (ULGA), Mr. Julius Kitur, President of Eldoret City Council (Kenya), and representatives of the cities of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), the urban commune of Yaoundé (Cameroon), the Burundian Association of Communal Councilors (ABELO), the city of Sfax (Tunisia) and Mr Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa.

    Establishment of the network of young local elected officials within UCLG Africa

    The voices of young African local elected officials echoed throughout the session dedicated to them with three presentations on the experiences of Zambia, Tunisia and Senegal, on the theme: “Young African local elected officials facing the challenges of territorial governance.”

    Faced with the low representation of young people in local decision-making bodies, Mr Christopher Kangombé, Mayor of Kitwe (Zambia) advocated raising awareness of “Generation Y”. At 34 years old, Mr. Kangombé is now President of the Association of Local Governments of Zambia. In 2006, at the age of 21, he decided to run as a municipal councilor while he was still a student. For Kangombe, the first thing to do for young people who wanted to get involved in local governance was to have a plan. “You can’t win any election if you don’t have people to vote for you. We had put in place a strategy to raise awareness among students one year before the municipal elections to encourage them to vote. We were able to register 5,000 voters and I was able to win the elections as an independent candidate. I was elected because I had a plan.”

    Secondly, he stated that young people needed encouragement to get involved in the decision-making process. This would require targeting schools, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Strong advocacy was needed to ensure that young people were involved in the management of the local authority. “We must ensure that at the level of our respective countries, laws allow young people to run for decision-making positions and advocate for the integration of quotas for young people. In Zambia, we have only 5 mayors under the age of 35 years old“.

    Mrs. Ibticem Atitallah (34), Deputy Mayor of Sfax, recalled that the revolution of 14 January, 2011 in Tunisia was initiated by and made successful by the involvement of young people. This was marked by a massive adherence of young people to political parties. Tunisia has had publications in place since 2017 that encourage young people to apply for local governance. The minimum age for municipal and regional elections has been set at 18 years old and the list of each party must include a young person among its first 3 candidates. The municipality of Sfax has 16 young people out of 42 municipal councilors. At present, 47% of young people are represented in municipal councils in Tunisia.

    Mrs. Thérèse Faye Diouf, mayor of the commune of Diaréré (Senegal) is the first woman to lead this territorial community. In office since 2014, she believes that the involvement of youth in local governance requires the creation of a space for youth expression. “In Senegal, there must be a strong representation of young people in decision-making bodies because young people represent 67.77% of the Senegalese population. Youth councils in localities, youth clubs at school and at university level should be promoted. These are platforms that prepare young people to be leaders,” she explained. At the moment, Senegal has more than thirty mayors less than 40 years of age.

    Panelists and young elected mayors present at the session welcomed the decision of UCLG Africa’s Executive Committee to set up a network of young local elected officials within UCLG Africa as a community of practice for young elected officials on territorial governance. A preparatory committee for the general assembly of young mayors and local elected officials of Africa bureau composed of one representative per region has been appointed. The network’s first general assembly is scheduled for the next Africities Summit in 2021 in Kisumu, Kenya. The committee is composed of: Mr Christopher Kangombé (Kitwe), President for the East Africa region, Mrs Ibticem Atitallah (Sfax), President for the North Africa region and Mrs Thérèse Faye Diouf, President for the West Africa region. The Southern and Central Africa regions will be contacted by the UCLG Africa Secretariat to appoint their representatives on the committee. The session was moderated by Mr. Emile Gros Raymond Nakombo, Mayor of the city of Bangui (Central African Republic) in the presence of Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa.

    Part Two here