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President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya Officially Opens the 9th Edition of the Africities Summit

The 9th edition of the Africities Summit has been launched today in Kisumu by His Excellency, Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya. Former Seychelles head of state, His Excellency Danny Faure also took part in the official ceremony in the presence of 3500 delegates from around the world and more than 2000 local authorities. For this event, Kisumu has set up an Africities Village at the Jomo Kenyatta Stadium and its surrounding areas in order to welcome participants and exhibitors from the four corners of the world.

During the 5 days, discussions will be held around the theme of the summit: “The role of intermediary cities in Africa in the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the African Union Agenda 2063”. In line with the theme, Kisumu is the first intermediary city to host the event.

His Excellency, President Uhuru Kenyatta in his speech called on the participants of the summit to make it a questioning forum for the summit to be successful. He proposed a 12-point questioning framework based on how national central governments can support a mobilization of resources to unlock effective delivery service in intermediary cities. what strategies and policies are required to combat the threats of radicalization and terrorism especially in the urban areas including our intermediary cities and what legal and policy frameworks should be established so as to foster the robust and sustainable development of intermediary cities among other questions.

“Time is ripe for scaling up the role of intermediary cities as the next frontiers of African urbanization and development. An unprecedented rate of urbanization has seen 1086 intermediary cities become home to 174 million people representing 36% of our continent’s total urban population and contributing about 40% of our continent’s GDP. As we convene to deliberate on how we can establish a shift towards a new urban paradigm and unleash the potential of intermediary cities in fostering inclusive development and the realization of our SDGs and all other socio economic development initiatives we must keep in mind that Africa is becoming increasingly urbanized. The traditional rural focus within development plans risks marginalizing a growing section of our population which will soon be the majority,” said His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya.

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Local governments play a key role in the achievement of Agenda 2030 and SDG 13 through ensuring a paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways. Cities produce between 71% and 75% of total greenhouses gas emissions (GHG). In this regard, despite increasing levels of attention and action on climate change at city scales, much of this activity is largely decoupled from national policy framework. UCLG Africa position on climate is that the battle against climate change will be lost or won in cities and territories. UCLG Africa advocates for territorialization of NDCs and the adoption of a bottom-up approach to their definition, starting from locally determined contributions (LDCs).

“The reality of our continent is reflected in the way we treat our intermediary cities. Intermediary cities are your key target of governance. Treat them well and they will treat African citizens well, treat them bad and we will fail in our progress,”said Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa.

A dialogue between former head of states followed the official opening on financing infrastructure and urbanization in Africa to achieve the SDGs and the UN 2030 Agenda and the Africa Union Agenda 2063.

African Union High Representative For Infrastucture Development, Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga called for the establishment of an African Infrastucture Fund to fund the monetary deficit needed to build Africa’s infrastructure.

“Africa needs 170 billion dollars per annum to be able to meet its infrastructure needs but has a deficit of about 110 billion dollars. We can work with several institutions to establish this fund because we have identified that Africa has idle capital such as sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and insurance funds. We are working towards tapping these resources to enable Africa fund its own development,”he said.

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Former President of Seychelles, His Excellency Danny Faure highlighted the need for bankable strategic infrastructure based on data.

“It is important that we back up our interventions based on facts and data that shows us where we are in terms of development. The next step is to strategically choose the right infrastructure that will have the most effective impact on the continent and whose outcomes will be beneficial to our nations and populations. The approach on the continent concerning infrastructure needs to be co-ordinated and not fragmented,” he said.

This first day of the summit was also dedicated to Diaspora. The African diaspora accounts for around 150 million people of African descent located in all the regions of the world. The African Union considers Africa’s Diaspora as the sixth region of Africa. Consolidating the relations between the Africa Motherland and its Diaspora and all the dimensions to give to these relations was at the heart of the discussions of the Diaspora Day. It is a key agenda to ensure the realization of the United Nations 2030 agenda and the African Union Agenda 2063. Its contribution to economic development is greater than public aid from international institutions. Also, a certain form of transmission of the Afro-descendant history gives rise to a great involvement of the new generations for a better knowledge of its identity but also an active participation in the emergence of this continent.

Synergy needs to be developed between the diaspora and the local population and local authorities need to set up programs in which the diaspora can concretely participate in for the development of the continent at local, national and continental level to make the continent shine internationally.

One of the best illustrations of the reality and weight of African Diaspora, is Ms Lupita Nyongo, who is the first Goodwill Ambassador of Africities. In her official video, Ms Nyongo expressed how honored she felt to be the Africities Goodwill Ambassador for this Year “Kisumu is my ancestral home and I have witnessed its potential first hand. It has so much to offer and I can finally see its vibrant energy being tapped with the radical leadership of its governor, my father Professor Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o. I could not think of a better place to come together to discuss tangible solutions for the challenges facing Africa and its intermediary cities than the Africities Summit. Over the next 5 days, you will participate in interactive sessions, you will hear from inspirational speakers, take workshops, implement projects and dream up the Africa we want to see. One where everyone has access to food, healthcare, education, housing, public safety and peace.”

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Tomorrow the main sessions will include Africities Trade and invest forum, Digital Day, Culture Day, and a series of assemblies of UCLG Africa  Networks to elect their office bearers. These include: the General  Assembly of The Network for Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA), the General Assembly of Network of young local elected officials (YELO),  the  Assembly of Territorial Coaches, the Assembly of Permanent Secretaries/ Executive Directors of National Association Of Local Authorities,  the Assembly of  the network of City Managers (Africa MAGNET);  the Assembly of the network of City Chief Finance Officers (Africa FINET); the Assembly of the network of City Chief Technical Officers (Africa TECHNET) and the Assembly of the network of Human Resource Managers of African Local and Regional Governments (Local Africa HR-Net); the Assembly of Territorial Managers in charge of Decentralized Cooperation ; the  Assembly of the African Media For Development (MADEL).

PS: Don’t miss the daily press conference at the venue at 8:30 AM. Venue: Africities Media Centre. Find all the information: Presentation / Program / Speakers onwww.Africities.org

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