Africities is the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa’s flagship pan-African event that is held every three years in one of the five regions of Africa. The architecture of all Africities Summit aims to address major questions based on the construction of the 2063 Vision of Africa with debate proposed by the African Union Commission.
The pan-African organization of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) announced in April that the Ninth edition of the Africities Summit (Africities 9), initially scheduled to take place from November 16 to November 20, 2021 in Kisumu City (Kenya), is postponed for the period from April 26 to 30, 2022, still in Kisumu.
In a statement to public and partner institutions, the UCLG Africa said that the Government of Kenya had requested the rescheduling of the Summit due to the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The Africities summit is the largest democratic gathering organized on the African continent; a clarion call every three years to ministers, mayors and leaders of local authorities; representatives of civil society, the private sector, academic and research; national, regional and international financial institutions; development partners; and other stakeholders.
1.4 Billion Africities Convention Centre
Planning and readiness for Summit in Kisumu are ongoing, with the commencement for construction of the Sh 1.4 Billion Africities Convention Centre, road infrastructural upgrades and city beautification. Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony at Mamboleo Show Ground in Kisumu Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa said that the first phase of the iconic Convention Centre, designed in the form of a boat to reflect both the cultural and economic facets of the region, will cost Sh 850 Million.
When complete, the Convention Centre will comprise a 4,000 seat auditorium, 15 breakaway rooms, 60 exhibition spaces, outdoor amphitheater, VIP Lounge, health Centre, Press Centre, picnic area, children’s park and skating rink, will cost Sh. 1.4 billion.
According to the Devolution CS, the classy facility, whose design is deeply rooted in the Luo Culture, will serve Kisumu and the Lake region beyond the Africities conference. “This facility will not only serve the Lake region counties but with the revival of lake transport, we are looking to have our brothers from Uganda and Tanzania bring meetings here.”
The theme of the Summit remains: “The role of Africa’s intermediary cities in the implementation of the UN’s Agenda 2030 and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.” Kisumu is the very first intermediate city to host the Africities Summit. The previous Africities 8 edition, held in Marrakech in November 2018 in Morocco, was attended by a record 8,300 participants from 79 countries, including 52 African countries, it recalled.
The CS called on the organizers to fully integrate the participation of the youth and women in the conference as they seek to showcase the vibrancy and the beauty of Kisumu. The event that is set to take place in Mamboleo showground will be a platform to grow not only Kisumu County but also the entire Lake Region Economic Bloc and Kenya at large. According to the Kisumu County Governor, “the Summit will place Kisumu in the world map.”
Kisumu’s accommodation and meeting facilities are almost sufficient. There are over 4,000 beds in the city and about 8,000 others in the region. The Africities summit offers a unique platform for dialogue on the role of local authorities in the development and unity of Africa, and on the place of decentralization in improving the governance of public affairs in Africa.
“I want to urge that we should not leave behind the young people of Kisumu in this venture. Let us involve our women, our youth. We showcased our best of Kisumu on Madaraka Day and come April again, we want to see this vibrancy of our youth, our women and beauty of Kisumu coming up.”
Updates From Cairo
During the 25th Executive Committee Meeting of convened in Cairo Egypt this June to take stock of UCLGA’s progressive planning, Prof Nyong’o said Kisumu was ready to host the Summit. The UCLGA Secretary General, H.E Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi thanked the Egyptian government for accepting to host the organisation’s northern regional office in Cairo noting that they will forge closer working relationship. “We are ready for the summit, despite the threats by Covid-19”, Prof Nyong’o said.
In September 2020, a multi-agency committee of national and county officials was inaugurated to prepare for the Africicties Summit after successful negotiations held in 2018 in Marrakech Morocco. Among those involved in the preparations are officials from the ministries of Devolution, Interior, Treasury, Foreign Affairs, Transport, ICT, Housing and Urban Planning and the Council of Governors.
This will be the second time Kenya is hosting the Summit as it held its first one in 2006. The summit is anticipated to host around 8,500 delegates from all over the globe. Kisumu will be the first intermediary city, aside from the main cities to host the summit.
The Kisumu County Government as a host started upgrading roads and pavements, and major revamping is being done around the city. Governor H.E Anyang’ Nyong’o mentioned that he is working closely with the National Government to ensure the fruition of the summit.
The Governor noted that the pandemic partly slowed the process but appreciated that there is still enough time to plan. “The Covid- 19 will not dampen our commitment to host the summit. We already have planning committees in place and we have enough time to plan. We shall deliver a successful event.”
The Africities Summit is the largest democratic gathering organized on the African continent. It brings together the ministers every three years; mayors and leaders of local authorities; representatives of civil society, the private sector, academia and research; national, regional and international financial institutions; development partners; and other stakeholders.
The Africities Summit offers a unique platform for dialogue on the role of local authorities in the development and unity of Africa, and on the place of decentralization in improving the governance of public affairs in Africa.