Africities in Kisumu has indeed beaten the record reached at the 8th Africities Summit in Marrakesh, Morocco, in 2018
KISUMU, Kenya: The last day of the Summit offered an opportunity to take stock of the participation in the Kisumu Summit.
The incredible gamble of UCLG Africa to organize for the very first time an Africities Summit in the intermediary city of Kisumu in Kenya proved to be a winning bet. Africities in Kisumu has indeed beaten the record reached at the 8th Africities Summit in Marrakesh, Morocco, in 2018. The figures speak for themselves:
-Participation in Marrakesh 8,300 registered delegates from 71 countries including 50 African countries; Participation in Kisumu: 11,000 registered delegates from 100 countries including 53 African countries;
-Participation in the Africities Exhibition Marrakesh 2018: 84 exhibitors; Kisumu 2022: 164 exhibitors.
-Number of sessions organized in Marrakesh 2018: 150 sessions during the 5 days of the Summit, which is on average 30 sessions per day; Kisumu 2022: 180 sessions during the 5 days of the Summit, which is an average of 36 sessions per day.
-Number of Special events organized in Marrakesh 2018: 5 special events: Climate Day; Culture Day; Urban Planning Day; Women’s Day; Youth Day; and in Kisumu 2022: in addition to the 5 days organized in Marrakesh, additional 3 special events were held: Diaspora Day; Digital Day; Africa Trade and Investment Forum.
In terms of content the focus of the Summit’s proceedings was on how intermediary cities can better ensure the delivery of the key five main functions any subnational or local government ought to deliver to the populations living in the territories within its constituency, namely, 1. feeding the territory; 2. planning and building infrastructure, amenities and housing in the territory; 3. providing basic services in the territory; 4. maintaining infrastructure and facilities in the territory; 5. administering and governing the territory.
The attention of participants was drawn to the fact that the triple health crisis, ecological crisis, geopolitical, and democratic crisis, calls for a rethink of the way these functions will be rendered from now on, given the rapidly changing business, social, and political environment under way.
It is in full knowledge of this very particular post-COVID-19 pandemic environment that the tripartite dialogue roundtable between ministers, mayors and leaders of subnational and local governments, and development partners took place on May 21, 2022 from 10:30 to 12:30.
Each of the aforementioned stakeholders asked 5 questions to the two others. The resulted exchange was very rich and well appreciated by the audience who rated this tripartite roundtable as the ice on the cake of the Africities Summit.
Tripartite Dialogue Roundtable between Ministers, Mayors and Development Partners
The tripartite dialogue roundtable between African ministers, African mayors and leaders of subnational governments, and representatives of development partners was an invigorating discussion around finance, where mayors argued that the share of subnational governments in the management of public finance resources and expenditure has remained unacceptably low compared to what happens in other regions of the world.
Ministers for the most part seemed to agree that financial transfers from the national to subnational and local governments could be more. However, the tricky point for the ministers is how to ensure mutual accountability for the financial management at the local level taking into consideration the weak absorption capacity of subnational and local governments. Development partners on the other hand agreed that they should fund subnational governments more directly or find a way to do so.
“Development partners can be compared to children playing football who chase after one ball with no form or structure. Development partners also chase after one or two cities who are doing well and when one city does well, all the development partners do the same so as to show taxpayers their good work and give ourselves a pat on the back.
“We need to better coordinate ourselves as development partners to stop chasing after that one ball like children playing football but do development in a more structured way with intermediary cities as well as primary cities and make sure that that the whole system works for the development of the citizens” said Oliver Harman, Cities Economist at Cities that Work.
Similarly, mayors agree that they also need to coordinate themselves better to be able to guide development partners on how best to help subnational governments.
“We need to work together as African cities to come up with policies that will be the same across all African countries to guide development partners better and this needs to be something that can be done within the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa” said Julius Kitur, Mayor of Eldoret, Kenya.
During the session, leaders of government including mayors and ministers were called upon to be more accountable to citizens and put their personal interests last to ensure that we transform Africa.
“It is high time that we stop serving powerful individuals in governments and start serving the people. We need to learn to stop loving our jobs and money more than we love our people and countries” said Doreen Nyanjura, Deputy Lord Mayor of Kampala in Uganda.
The round table discussion ended with the official closing ceremony where the President of UCLG Africa, Ms. Fatimetou Abdel Malick, gave the closing remarks, the Governor of Kisumu, Prof. Anyang Nyong’o gave a farewell speech, and the Minister of Devolution in Kenya, His Excellency Hon. Eugene Wamalwa delivering a closing speech and declaring the proceedings of the Africities Summit definitively close on 21 May 2021 at 14:30.
The 9th edition of the Africities Summit in Kisumu ended on a festive note with a gala dinner where Morocco was awarded as the best designed country pavilion at the Africities Exhibition; 01Talent as the most living stand, and Koko Network as the more innovative offer.
The Government of Kenya, the Council of Governors of Kenya, the County Government of Kisumu, and UCLG Africa were praised for the successful organization of the 9th edition of the Africities Summit in Kisumu.
At the closing gala dinner, the Secretary General of UCLG Africa, Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi read the ‘Final declaration of the Africities summit’ also tagged the “Africities 9 Kisumu Declaration”, which highlighted the need to make intermediary cities structuring clusters of sustainable development in Africa.
The Africities Kisumu Declaration also affirmed the urgency to raise awareness on the impact of climate change; hence the importance for local and regional governments of Africa to adhere to the Convention of African Mayors for Climate, and to adopt the necessary measures to prepare their territories to become resilient to climate change.
In addition, the Declaration called on African National States to sign and ratify the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralization, Local Governance and Local Development and ensure the proper implementation of the principles it contains.
Women and Youth were identified as game changers for the realization of the Africa We Want, hence the call to commit to the empowerment of Women emancipation and Youth empowerment by promoting appropriate economic and other support programs. (Read the full declaration here (https://bit.ly/39YCtxi)).
The next Africities summit will be in 2025.
Video: 9th Africities Summit – Highlight:
Lead photo: UCLG-Africa Kisumu Children sing during the closing ceremony.