PRESIDENT Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, yesterday, in Kisumu, western Kenya, declared open the 9th Africities Summit, with a call on African leaders to work for the enhancement of the continent’s prosperity through better planning, provision of services and elimination of extreme poverty.

“Kenyatta said the Summit, scheduled to run from May 17 to 21, under the theme: ‘The Contribution of Africa’s Intermediary Cities to the Implementation of Vision 2030 of the United Nations and Agenda 2063 of the African Union’, is important because, as the population of African urban centres grow, there is a need to establish proper systems that will help cities remain well planned and livable.

“It’s the first time the pan-African gathering is highlighting the first level of the continent’s urban framework, which is made up of around 1,500 intermediary cities with populations of between 50,000 and 500,000 inhabitants. This layer of the continent’s urban landscape currently accounts for a little over 30 per cent of its urban population.

“President of United Cities and Local Governments, UCLG, Africa, Christine Mba Ndutume, organisers of the event, said the best way for Africa to meet the future challenges of a rapidly urbanizing continent is through sincere devolution of powers to local authorities and empowerment of leaders at this level to tackle development issues at the grassroots level where it matters most.“

“Speaking to journalists at the occasion, Nigerian businesswoman and philanthropist, Dr Mrs Seinye O.B. Lulu-Briggs reiterated the importance of devolution. She urged the international organisations, especially those in the west, to work with their global south partners who work with communities to address issues of climate change linked poverty and displacement affecting residents of poorer countries of the world.“

“Lulu-Briggs, Chairman of the Fund of the Alliance of NGOs and CSOs for Global South South Cooperation (ANCSSC), an international network of 450 organisations, explained how the organization is working to raise funds to empower civil society organisations in the global south to lead the fight against effects of climate change and other issues that affect the people.“

“Dr Lulu-Briggs highlighted UCLG data which shows that of the 2.0 billion additional people that could be added to the world’s population between 2019 and 2050, 1.05 billion (52%) would come from sub-Saharan African countries, and as a result Africa’s urban population will be about 1.2 billion by 2050.“

““It is therefore crucial that we fashion out innovative ways in which our cities and towns which will be home to most of these people would be able to develop the resilience and dynamism needed to attain the goals of Agenda 2030 and AU’s agen,” she said. “It is my view that, as groups closer to the people and with the required skills and understanding of the issues, members of ANCSSC and allied organisations should be supported – financially and materially – to play their role as vanguards in the fight against poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy that militates against the progress of our peoples.”

“ “Delegates started arriving in the lakeside city of Kisumu for the Africities Summit over the weekend.

““The host governor, Professor Anyang Nyong’o delivered his welcoming remarks, followed by United Cities and Local Governments, UCLG Africa Secretary General, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi and the President of UCLG Africa, Christine Mba Ndutume and the chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki.

““Also speaking virtually during the opening ceremony, Africities Ambassador Lupita Nyong’o, UN deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed and US Special President Envoy on Climate John Kerry, all emphasized the need to build more climate-resilient cities.

““Over the course of the week, participants at the Summit are going to discuss the ways to make intermediate cities more sustainable for their residents. They will also discuss the way local actors, whose partnerships with intermediary cities could help in the structural transformation of the African continent.

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