Accelerating pace of urbanisation and migration, the urbanisation of poverty, and the disproportionate level of poverty and under development in Africa form the fulcrum of this year’s Africities Summit. The Summit, in its 7th edition, is scheduled for the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa from 29th November to 3rd December.
Disclosing this at a press conference in Lagos, Secretary General, Jean-Pierre Elong-Mbassi of the United Cities of Local Governments in Africa (UCLGA) noted that the Summit will create a platform for tackling issues affecting urban and economic development across the continent with a sharp focus on collaborative partnerships, best practices, innovative and strategic thinking and solutions to the challenges of development and urbanisation.
According to Elong-Mbassi, the summit is held every three years, with more than 5,000 participants expected from across Africa and the globe, and over 25 Open Sessions for stakeholders ranging from The World Bank on one side, to Slum Dwellers on the other. The theme of this year’s summit is “Shaping the Future of Africa with the People: Africa’s Local Government Contribution to the Africa 2063 Vision” The Summit will be host to local and national government officials, Heads of State, economists, city and financial planners and investors and stakeholders.
“Unless people are capacitated to own their own lives, to take part in the governance of their own lives, you cannot say that your country is liberated. This is why decentralisation and empowering local people is so critical. We thought it was good to celebrate the coming up of local authorities as the expression of the voice of the local people. We thought it was important to overcome the divide inherited by colonisation … so we came together to say we are going to stop it; we are going to participate at the local level to unite this continent and we are going to work towards the empowerment of local people to take control of their lives… This is how Africities was born” – Elong-Mbassi stated.