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Saturday, December 3, 2022

UCLG Africa flays xenophobia in South Africa

The United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) that held its regional caucus for the Southern Africa Region in Pretoria, South Africa, from March 14 to 15, 2022, has issued a declaration against xenophobia in the country.

UCLG Africa
Participants at the UCLG Africa Southern Africa Region regional caucus in Pretoria, South Africa

Xenophobia, described as the fear and/or hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is different or foreign, has become rampant as immigrants from elsewhere face discrimination and even violence in South Africa.

Bothered about the disturbing trend, participants at the UCLG Africa Southern Africa Region regional caucus in the declaration submitted: “We, the leaders of subnational local governments in Southern Africa gathered in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa, under the auspices of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), the Pan African Organisation of local and regional governments, observe with grave concern the unprecedented and unacceptable growing actions against migrants carried out in the country with more planned in the coming weeks.”

Nine out of the 10 countries of the Region participated in the meeting organised in collaboration with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA).

These countries were represented by the Chairpersons and Permanent Secretaries of the National Associations of Subnational and Local Governments, as well as the Chairpersons of the country chapters of the Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA), and a representative of young, elected officials that should be part of the Network of young local elected officials (YELO).

The proceeding witnessed the presence of Ms. Thembisile Nkadimeng, Deputy Minister, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA); Cllr Bheki Stofile, President of SALGA; Mr. Jeffrey Sibisibi, President of the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) also Vice-President, UCLG Africa, Southern Africa Region; Mr. Joe Ager, Representative of the Governor, Kisumu County in Kenya; and Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General, UCLG Africa.

For this fifth and last in a series of regional caucuses organised in preparation for the 9th edition of the Africities Summit to be held from May 17 to 21, 2022 in Kisumu, Kenya, members benefited from an intensive informative session on Africa Territorial Agency (ATA), a special purpose vehicle to facilitate access of subnational and local governments to the financial market.

The session on ATA was held in hybrid mode and provided to local authorities from other African regions the opportunity to participate in the discussions. A call was made to mobilise voluntary subnational and local governments to be part of the Club of Founding Members of ATA, whose meeting is contemplated in the framework of the upcoming Africities Summit in Kisumu. The Founding Members of ATA are the 100 subnational and local governments that volunteer to participate in ATA cooperative society by contributing 100,000 euros each in order to collect 10 million euros that will represent 50.1% of the ATA capital, making it a tool controlled by the beneficiaries of its lending activities.

The caucus also addressed the political priorities that the Southern Africa Region wishes to debate during the Africities proceedings. It also discussed and agree on key questions that the leaders of subnational and local governments of the Southern Africa Region propose to ask to ministers and to development partners in order to improve of their delivery capacity, and in particular for the implementation of the SDGs of the 2030 Agenda and of Agenda 2063 in intermediary cities of Africa.

The leaders of subnational and local governments of the Region also discussed their contribution to the special events to be held during the Summit, namely: the Climate Day; the Diaspora Day; the Culture Day; the Digital Day; the Urban Development Day; the Housing Day; the Women’s Day; the Youth Day; and the Africities investment Forum.  The Regional caucus asked also to launch a reflection at Africities in Kisumu on the role of cities and territories in the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The other aim of the caucus was also to designate the candidates of the Southern Africa Region on the governing bodies of UCLG Africa, REFELA, and YELO to be elected during the General Assemblies of these entities scheduled during the Africities Summit in May 2022 in Kisumu, Kenya.

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