The Pan African leadership caucus known as the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-Africa) has asked African countries to use the 9th Africities Summit to attract more investment opportunities into the continent.
The summit, which is scheduled for May this year in Kisumu City, Western Kenya, will also provide an opportunity for discussion on how to prepare for the forthcoming Climate change conference (Cop 27) to be held in Egypt in November this year.
The UCLG-Africa leadership also wants to use the summit to prepare governments on challenges facing urbanisation in the continent and its impact on environmental conservation.
“Kenya has four Cities: Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru. Nairobi is the Capital City, while the three are intermediary Cities. Kisumu will be hosting the 9th Afri Cities Summit. Just like Kenya, I believe most of our cities are intermediary ones,” said Eugene Wamalwa, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Defence.
“There is thus a need for the Summit to deliberate on the financing of urban areas to enable them to effectively deliver services to the urban population, including those who live in informal sectors. As well as attract investors,” he added.
“More than ever, the subnational governments need to speak with a united voice at the global level and collaborate in mobilising resources for combating impacts of climate change and pandemics,” said Prof Anyang Nyong'o, Governor of Kisumu County.
The 9th Africities summit comes at a time the UCLG-Africa has launched a financial institution to help fund African urban infrastructures and services in preparation for a ballooning urban population in the continent.
With an average annual population growth of 2.4 per cent, which is the highest in the world, it is estimated that the African population increased two-fold during the past 30 years, compared to other regions.
“I am encouraged by some of the measures that UCLG-Africa is implementing to ensure that Africa’s local governments stand on their feet economically. One such strategy is the [signing of] Africa Territorial Agency Agreement,” said Prof Nyong'o.
“Through this agreement, we have the vehicle that will give us direct access to international financial markets to help finance critical development agenda and the much needed devolved services such as health, water and agriculture,” he added.
The Africa territorial Agency (ATA) will avail funds to African nations for infrastructure development in cities.
The ATA is operated as a cooperative institution intended to disburse seed capital of about 100,000 Euros to cities.
During the meeting, the UCLG-A Secretary General Mr Pierre Jean Elong Mbassi urged African countries to send expressions of interest for the fund.
“Please apply for these funds as all Capital Cities of the African Countries qualified for the funding,” said Elong Mbassi.
“It will be a reflective event for local governments in Africa and will help us find and fix the missing link between our communities and the African Union,” added Mr Mbassi.
On digital front, Mr Mbassi said “We will discuss the digital Transformation in Africa and what the future holds for us. We will work with partners to produce 5 million digital literate people if we have to achieve the digital transformation. We want Africa to take its rightful position and re-invent the world.”
During the May event, a dozen former African Presidents whose names have not been officially released and a number of scholars and civil rights activists will be honoured.