7th Africities Summit: AfDB commits to support African cities through strengthening of local governments
At the 7th Africities Summit, which took place from November 29 to December 3 in Johannesburg, South Africa, the African Development Bank reiterated its commitment to supporting initiatives for decentralisation and urban development in Africa.
The central theme of the summit was “Shaping the future of Africa with the people: The contribution of African Local Authorities to Agenda 2063 of the African Union.” The theme sought to stir a rigorous understanding of likely future trends with intense debate about what needs to be done at the local level with immediate effect to address the emergency of service delivery, shelter, economic opportunities, safe and affordable mobility, among other issues.
The summit was presented in three segments – thematic, open and political sessions – that focused on the role that local authorities intend to play to make Africa a prosperous continent in line with Agenda 2063. It was organised by United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-A) with two major objectives: (i) defining appropriate shared strategies in order to improve the living conditions of the people at the local level, and (ii) contribute to the integration, peace and unity of Africa from the grassroots as stipulated by Agenda 2063.
Amadou Oumarou, the Bank’s Transport and ICT Director, told the gathering that the Bank would work with other bodies in this endeavor. He said the Bank would “initiate strategic discussions needed to strengthen collaboration with continental and sub-regional associations of local governments on the continent.”
The Bank was represented in several sessions, including a discussion of UCLG-A’s Urban Development Strategy: “The state of African cities report”; and sessions on “Urban investment in Africa”; “Land-based financing of urban infrastructure”; and “Urbanization for Africa’s structural transformation”.
According to Oumarou, the AfDB is the largest financier of infrastructure in Africa with more than $28 billion just over the last 10 years. Since 2000, over $3.2 billion has been invested in urban water supply and sanitation, improving the lives of some 22 million people, including the urban poor.