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By Albert Savana
UCLG Africa held its statutory meetings on November 9th, 2019 at Onomo Hotel in Durban, South Africa. The statutory meetings of UCLG Africa included the 22nd session of Executive committee and the meeting of the Pan-African Council. These meetings were held as a prelude to the UCLG World Congress that takes place from November 11th-15th, 2019 in the city of Durban.
The two meetings were officially opened by General Mahmoud Shaarawy, Minister of Local Development of Egypt, in the presence of General Khaled Abdel Aal, Governor of Cairo; Mr. Léandre Nzué, Mayor of Libreville (Gabon), President of UCLG Africa; Rev. Mpho Moruakgomo, President of BALA (Botswana); Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the Southern Africa Region, Mr. Mohamed Boudra, President of AMPCC (Morocco), Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the North Africa Region; Mrs. Soham El Wardini, Mayor of Dakar (Senegal), Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the West Africa Region; Mr. Uwimana Innocent, President of RALGA (Rwanda), Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the East Africa Region; Mrs. Fatna El-Khiel, Vice-President of REFELA for the North Africa region, and Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa.
The Minister, General Mahmoud Shaarawy and the Governor of the Governorate of Cairo, General Khaled Abdel Aal, reassured the members of the Executive Committee that the UCLG Africa regional office being set up for the North Africa region in Cairo, will be completed by the end of the year. They had also invited UCLG Africa members to participate to the second edition of the African Cities: “Engines of Sustainable Development” conference to be held in June 2020 in Cairo.
The Executive Committee and Pan-African Council members discussed participation in the UCLG Congress where Africa is contesting for the position of UCLG president for the 2019-2022 term. The candidate for Africa is Dr. Mohamed Boudra, Mayor of Al Hoceima, Morocco, President of the Moroccan Association of Local Governments (AMPCC) and Vice president of UCLG Africa for the North Africa Region.
All members of Pan-African Council reaffirmed their full support to Dr. Mohamed Boudra, the sole candidate for Africa. The President of UCLG Africa and the Vice President of REFELA called on all African mayors to mobilize the mayors of their twin cities of other continents to vote for Africa by supporting Dr. Boudra’s candidacy.
« In Africa, women elect men. Our African candidate will be elected. We are committed and all African voices will go to him. We will advocate with other electors to vote for Dr. Boudra “, Mrs. Soham El Wardini, Mayor of Dakar (Senegal), Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the West Africa Region
The UCLG Africa delegates are already fully engaged in the campaign for a final victory. The first part of election is plan on 14th November evening, during the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments. The second part will be on 15th November 2019.
The members attending the meeting raised the following points:
Liberation of Khalifa Sall
Leaders of UCLG Africa welcome the liberation of Mr. Khalifa Ababacar Sall, former Mayor of Dakar and former president of the organization. During his two years of incarceration, the support from African Local Governments was unwavering. On 17th April 2018 in Libreville, a specific mention of the support to UCLG Africa’s leader was published in the Declaration of UCLG Africa Region Strategic Meeting for the Central Africa Region.
Motion of support to the Mayor of Bamako
The members of Pan-African Council were also informed about the situation of the Mayor of Bamako (Mali), Adama Sangaré who has arrested and placed under a detention warrant. It was agreed to write a motion of support to Mayor Sangaré and plan for a UCLG Africa delegation to arrange a courtesy visit.
Declaration of solidarity to municipal movement of Burkina Faso and other countries dealing with the terrorist attacks
The Leaders of African Local Government also decided to produce a declaration to condemn the terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso and the other African countries such as Cameroon. These attacks have resulted in the death of many people including several Mayors.
It was also highlighted that the next Africities to be held in the city of Kisumu in Kenya from 16th to 23rd of November 2021. The theme for this edition will be “The Role of the Intermediary Cities in the Development of Africa”.
The Secretary General for UCLG Africa provided a project report including The Network of Elected Women (REFELA), Migration, Young Local Leaders, African Capitals of Culture, Territorial Africa Agency, Climate Task Force, Territorial Coaching, and ALGA.
A point was made regarding REFELA campaigns for African Cities without Street Children that was signed by 60 cities, The Campaign for African Cities’ Zero Tolerance to Violence Against Women and Girls with 22 cities signing up, and finally The Campaign of African Cities for Women’s Economic Empowerment.
«REFELA wants this campaign for African Cities without Street Children became a world campaign. We should remember the message of the King of Morocco in Africities 2018, It’s a matter of dignity for ourselves if we are not ashamed to have children sleeping in the street«, said Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa.
Migration was also one of the key issues on the agenda of development in Africa. Considering the fact that African people move mainly inside the continent, the meetings appealed to Local Authorities to increase the number of the signatory cities for the Charter of Local and Regional Governments of Africa on Migration. Only 30 cities have signed this Charter since its adoption during the 8th edition of Africities summit in Marrakech, November 2018 yet every major city in Africa has to deal with the growing impact of urban population growth through economic migration.
Two meetings were scheduled on the 11th of November at the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders. The first one is about young African leaders and the drive to establish an African network of young elected officials. The second meeting is The Africa Territorial Agency that aims to establish a financial vehicle to enable Local Authorities to access the financial markets.
ALGA has organized the third edition of the FAMI (African Forum of Territorial Managers and Training Institutes targeting local governments). Several colleges have already been established and 169 officials elected and technical staff of municipalities have been trained including: Localizing the SDGs, Territorial Coaching, Human Capital at local level, Decentralized cooperation and local governance.
Since the decision to endorse the program of African Capitals of Culture, it has worked on three pillars: the strengthening of the department, the advocacy at the local, national, continental and international level and the finalization of the activities of the multi-year program that will see Marrakech awarded the 2020 title of African Cities of Culture 2020-2021.
Territorial Coaching will expand to all the provinces in the Oriental and the Beni Mellal Region in Morocco; as well as breaking into the international scene, around South-South cooperation carried by the Region of the Oriental and the Government of Morocco. This has resulted into the creation of a center for Territorial Coaching in Dakar and in Kaolack in Senegal, and further requests for intervention in the region of the “Nohoum Loop” in Burkina Faso, in San Pedro in Côte d’Ivoire, and in the City of Douala in Cameroon.
After prolonged advocacy and negotiations, UCLG Africa is now part of the climate change ecosystem at the African and global levels. UCLG Africa suggested an innovation to improve the ongoing process of reviewing the Nationally Defined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, namely the adoption of a bottom-up approach based on Locally Determined Conditions (LDCs), following a structured dialogue between the national and territorial levels of government. This approach was considered innovative enough to be presented at the United Nations Climate Summit convened by the Secretary General in September 2019 in New York.
By Albert Savana
The African -Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) and South Africa-based Thelo DB Proprietary Limited today in Johannesburg, South Africa, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop, finance and operate railway projects in Africa.
Under the terms of the MoU, signed on the sidelines of the ongoing Africa Investment Forum, Afreximbank and Thelo DB will collaborate to support the modernisation of the continent’s railways as a catalyst to promoting trade, investment and economic skills development, recognising the urgent need for implementation of efficient and effective transportation and logistics solution in Africa, with particular emphasis on the freight railway sector.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, described the event as timely, given that the continent was in the process of operationalising the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement. According to the President, it is imperative that critical trade enabling infrastructure be put into place to facilitate the flow of tradeable goods and services along Africa’s trade corridors. He noted that Afreximbank’s strategic plan, IMPACT2021, sought to dramatically improve intra-African trade.
Ronnie Ntuli, Chairman of the Board of Thelo DB, welcomed the opportunity to work with “this leading and prestigious African multilateral development finance institution” and said that the strategic collaboration between the two organisations provided Thelo DB with the prospect to enhance the technical value chain of services that it offered to the African railway sector. “Through this critically important relationship, we are able to offer to the continent, not only the best technical solutions for the railway sector but also introduce financing solutions to finance railway projects across the continent.”
He further stated that Afreximbank and Thelo DB were well-positioned to facilitate trade, support infrastructure development and, importantly, help deliver the ambition of regional integration.
Thelo DB was committed to delivering unparalleled know-how and experience in the African railway sector and to providing railway infrastructure development, operational cooperation and construction supervision by implementing, and rehabilitating existing infrastructure, enhancing operational efficiencies and managing risks associated with rolling stock while transferring skills through training and skills development programmes, explained Mr. Ntuli.
According to him, by bringing separate but complimentary sets of specialities, Afreximbank and Thelo DB anticipate much improved efficiencies in the development, financing and operation of railway infrastructure projects, enhancing regional skills and supporting broader economic development on the African continent.
About Thelo DB
Thelo DB is an incorporated partnership between Africa’s industrial group, Thelo and the leading European railway conglomerate, Deutsche Bahn E&C (DB). The Company brings unmatched capacity to the African railway sector, supporting development of new railway corridors, including the opportunity to expand existing infrastructure and enhancing operational efficiencies of prevailing networks.
The Herald – Zimbabwe
By: Lovemore Chikova Assistant Editor
Zimbabwe has no choice but to innovate if its vision of industrialisation and modernisation is to be achieved within the envisaged period.
Although industrialisation and modernisation is a process that sometimes takes long to attain, it can be achieved in a fairly short period with the right ingredients in place.
The first crucial step is for everyone to acknowledge where the country stands at the moment with regards to industrialisation and modernisation.
The reality facing Zimbabwe is that it is far behind when it comes to industrialisation and modernisation, and is still trying to find its feet in that area.
Other countries that have travelled the road which Zimbabwe wants to go started by being frank on where they stood and what was required for them to come out of their situations.
Acknowledging the situation, despite how bad it might be, leads to people brainstorming on the possible solutions and the right path to take towards industrialisation and modernisation.
What is important for Zimbabwe is that such a debate has started, especially after the New Dispensation led by President Mnangagwa came into being in November 2017.
Politicians, businesspeople, churches, students and even the media, have been pre-occupied with trying to chart the way forward on what exactly needs to be done.
The fact which seems to have dawned on everyone is that the country cannot continue lagging behind and needs to catch up with others when it comes to development.
Many forums have been held towards achieving the goals of industrialisation and modernisation, and these have been frank on what exactly needs to be done.
It can thus be safely argued that the country has already passed the first stages of acknowledging the plight it is facing.
What needs to be done is now clear, and the implementation of some of the measures to bring industrialisation and modernisation has already started.
Among the actions to be taken, innovation should be one of the top priorities.
In line with innovation, there is also need for the country not to be left out by the Fourth Industrial Revolution that has taken the world by storm.
Developing countries that have managed to score some progress in their industrialisation processes started with encouraging technological innovation. Many of these are among the so-called Asian Tigers , the likes of China, Singapore, Japan and South Korea.
It is the emphasis on catching up with technology that drove the development that took place in such countries, and this provides huge lessons to fellow developing countries.
Just like the Asian Tigers’ economies in their infancy crying out for technological innovation, the Zimbabwean economy is crying much louder for such progress for it to compete on the global scale.
Traditional methods of doing business are no longer sustainable in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and the services industry.
This is the time to invest in technologies that facilitate the ease of doing business to ensure that production is done perfectly and within set times. The establishment of innovation hubs at various universities by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology development should be first step in achieving innovative ways of doing business in various sectors.
It is imperative that the young students going through these innovation hubs come up with a new thinking with regards to how business can be made easier and efficient.
What needs to be drilled into these students’ minds is that while they think the country can borrow technologies from other countries, it is imperative that local innovations anchor such a development. Such innovation capacity cannot, of course, be achieved overnight, but it is imperative that those involved start adjusting to the realities they face in this modern world.
But it all starts with a new mindset , let those responsible in both the public sector and the private sector be flexible enough to allow creativity and the application of innovative ideas.
This is why it is important for the country not to be left out of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which has been the anchor of modern industrialisation for many countries.
The evolution of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is anchored in the other industrial revolutions that took the world by storm in the past.
These are the First Industrial Revolution, the Second Industrial Revolution and the Third Industrial Revolution.
The First Industrial Revolution defined the beginning of mechanisation in which industrialists used water and steam power to enhance their production.
After that came the Second Industrial Revolution, which instead of relying on water and steam power, the industrialists used electric energy for mass production of goods, as the machines were moving faster.
The Third Industrial Revolution involved the use of automation through electronics and information technology to enhance mass production.
Now, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by the blending of several technologies at a much faster speed than ever anticipated.
Some have insinuated that this industrial revolution has caught the world by surprise and has not been anticipated.
This technological advance has already shown its characteristics of disrupting the usual way of doing things, ushering in high speed technologies that have changed the world view.
Numerous breakthroughs are being simultaneously made in technological advances, which no other epoch has achieved in the industrialisation process. This means a drastic change in the systems of industrial production.
Such technologies are in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, 3-D printing energy storage, quantum computing and biotechnology, and they anchor the new industrial revolution.
All these technologies are fast changing the way people live and how they conduct business, relate to each other and how they produce goods and services.
It is a fact that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is bringing huge developmental potential to developing countries, with those who can access the new technologies being able to acquire goods and services that enhance the quality of life.
This new revolution will help enhance the ease of doing business, with people easily accessing information, goods and services.
Just giving an example of the advanced smartphone which has already changed the way people do business, shows why any country with developmental aspirations should not be left out.
Today, one can use the smartphone to buy goods and services from anywhere in the world, a situation that was unthinkable a few years ago.
For Zimbabwe, what is needed is a cooperation between the innovation hubs cited above and industrialists so that innovative ideas can be transformed into usable products.
There are a lot of inventions that have ended as experiments or ideas in the local universities because industry has not absorbed them.
A few that have been taken board have worked wonders in making it easy for transactions to take place.
The Harare Institute of Technology has produced the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that is being used by many rural district councils in the country to aid the flow of their business and allow easy communication among departments.
The same institution has also come up with the Tap and Go application that is being used by the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company as a pre-payment system for bus fare.
This shows that with much focus and more planning, Zimbabwe can easily innovate its way around the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and easily catch up with other countries in its developmental agenda.