Africities summit wraps up with pledge to accelerate urban renewal

Kenya's Kisumu city, the 2021 Africities host. /Photo by Sammy Koech

The 9th edition of Africities summit, held in Kenya’s western city of Kisumu, concluded on Saturday with delegates endorsing new action plans to hasten urban renewal in Africa.

More than 4,000 participants including former heads of state and government, ministers, city mayors, industry leaders, researchers and innovators attended the May 17 to 21 summit, the first one to be held in an intermediary city.

FILE PHOTO: A view of Kisumu city’s central business district. /Photo by Sammy Koech/CGTN

Held under the theme of “The Role of Intermediary Cities of Africa in the Implementation of Agenda 2030 of the United Nations and the African Union Agenda 2063”, the five-day forum endorsed a new urban agenda for Africa that prioritizes resilience in the face of climatic shocks.

Eugene Wamalwa, acting cabinet secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Devolution, said there was need for African governments to promote sustainable urbanization as a prerequisite to reduce poverty, inequality, halt ecosystems degradation and cushion local communities from the climate crisis.

“We need to start embracing the use of clean energy in our rapidly growing cities even as we intensify conservation of urban green spaces to strengthen the resilience of communities,” said Wamalwa.

He challenged city administrators in the continent to come up with new policy and legislative tools that could be harnessed to improve waste management and provision of basic amenities in large metropolises.

While acknowledging that Africa’s fast growing cities have become epicenters of innovation and enterprise, Wamalwa said municipal authorities should intensify action on pollution, crime and overcrowding, in order to lure additional investments and talent.

Among topics that were discussed during the five-day Africities summit included creation of safer cities, promoting green mobility, adoption of circularity to address plastic waste menace and generate green jobs as well as revamping urban housing.

Anyang Nyong’o, the governor of Kisumu County and host of Africities summit, said it presented an ideal platform to discuss strategies that would revitalize sustainable growth of urban centers in the continent.

FILE PHOTO: Anyang Nyong’o, the governor of Kisumu County and host of Africities summit. /CGTN

According to Nyongo, African countries should leverage demographic dividend, clean technologies, good governance and macro-economic stability to renew cities, convert them into hubs for inclusive growth, peace and cohesion.

Kenya hosted the 9th Africities summit against a backdrop of eased travel restrictions occasioned by a slump in COVID-19 infections with the Egyptian capital of Cairo set to host the 10th edition Africities summit in 2025.

Fatimetou Abdel Malick from Mauritania was elected President of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Africa for a period of three years when the summit ended.