UCLG Africa, who represents and defends the interests of cities and local governments across Africa on the world stage, marked the inauguration of its new North Africa Regional Office where it held its first statutory meeting and 20th session of the Executive Committee, at the invitation of the Ministry of Local Development of the Arab Republic of Egypt, between June 17-20, 2019 at the Conrad Hotel in Cairo, Egypt.
Within the framework of this UCLG Africa statutory meeting an international conference was also organized under the High Patronage of the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, His Excellency Mr. Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, on the theme: "African Cities: Engines of Sustainable Development" in collaboration with Ministry of Local Development of Egypt, UN Habitat, and the European Union.
This Conference was officially opened by the Prime Minister of Egypt, Dr. Mostafa Madbouli, and was attended by a large number of Ministers from the Government of Egypt including members of the Bureau of the Specialized Technical Committee of the African Union (STC 8), comprising of African Ministers of Public Service, Urban Development and Housing, Decentralization and Local Governments; members of the Executive Committee of UCLG.
Discussions during the conference highlighted the challenges and opportunities faced by African cities, ways to increase their efficiency, and how to optimize resources for the achievement of sustainable development in its three dimensions: economic, social and environmental. In the closing remarks by H.E. Major General Mahmoud Shaarawi Minister of Local Development, Arab Republic of Egypt he stated “I would like to emphasize that we intend to turn this into an annual conference hosted by Cairo” in order to follow up on recommendations to encourage pan-African dialogue that enhances the integration and cooperation amongst African countries in achieving comprehensive local development that meets the aspirations of its communities.
The statutory meeting was officially opened by General Mahmoud Shaarawy, Minister of Local Development of Egypt, in the presence of General Khaled Abdel Aal, Governor of the Governorate of Cairo, and Mr. Mohamed Boudra, Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the North Africa region. At the opening of this 20th session of the Executive Committee of UCLG Africa, the members were also warmly welcomed by the newly elected Mayor of Libreville, Mr. Léandre Nzue in his capacity as the new President of UCLG Africa for the period 2019-2021.
The objective of the statutory meeting was to introduce the new President of UCLG Africa Mr. Léandre Nzue, newly elected Mayor of Liberville, after former UCLG Africa President and Mayor of Liberville Mrs Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda was appointed Minister of the Government of Gabon; and to appoint a new President of the Network for Locally Elected Women of Africa, REFELA, Mrs. Dao Macoura, Mayor of Foumbolo in Côte d'Ivoire after the Ministerial appointment of former REFELA President and Mayor of Bangangé, Mrs. Célestine KETCHA, as Minister of Housing and Urban Development for the Republic of Cameroon.
Strategic priorities for the organization in 2019, were also discussed including arrangements for Africities 2021 to be hosted by Kisumu County in Kenya; the establishment of the Africa Territorial Agency, a financial institution designed to raise funds on the financial markets to direct them towards investments within African cities and territories; the African Capitals of Culture program, which will have its first celebration in Marrakesh in 2020/2021; and finally the close collaboration with the Door of Our Return initiative, launched by the Afro-Descendants from the USA in celebration of the Year of Return in 2019 marking 400 years since the first documented group of Africans were brought through the transatlantic slave trade to the Americas in 1619. Key leaders, representing clergy, local governments, cities, business, diplomats and other community stakeholders are working together to return to Africa between 11&12 November and 25&26 November 2019 to key countries in West Africa to reconnect and explore investment opportunities and UCLG Africa will work closely with them to connect them to cities and local government leaders in Senegal, Ghana, and Nigeria.