Local and regional authorities from over 20 African countries participated in the ceremony, including presidents of associations of local and regional governments in Africa, mayors and governors of metropolitan cities in Africa and members of the Network of African Locally Elected Women (REFELA).
The ceremony was attended by the Chair of the African Union Technical Committee for Public Service, Urban Development, Decentralization and Local Government (STC 8); the Minister of Decentralization and Local Governance of Benin; the Minister of Local Governments of Lesotho and Member of the Bureau of STC 8; members of the diplomatic corps accredited in Morocco; representatives of the Moroccan Parliament; and the Secretary General of the International Association of Major Metropolises (Metropolis).
Participants heard speeches from the representative of the Interior Minister of Morocco, Mr. Khalid Safir, “Wali” (Head Governor) Director General of Local Governments; His Excellency Mr. Barnabé Zinsou DASSIGLI, Minister of Decentralization and Local Governance of the Republic of Benin and President of the African Union STC 8; His Excellency Mr. Mouhamadou Youssifou, Ambassador of Cameroon and Vice Dean of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to Morocco; Mrs. Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda, Mayor of Libreville and UCLG’s Vice-President for Africa; and Mr. Mohammed Boudra, President of the AMPCC association (Morocco).
In his opening speech, Mr. Khalid Safir reaffirmed the importance of the Kingdom of Morocco hosting the 8th edition of the Africities Summit.
“I would like to express to you all the joy and pride of the Kingdom of Morocco in welcoming the eighth edition of this summit in its territory. The theme will lead participants to discuss the future of cities, territories and local governments in Africa and Africa’s challenges in the face of globalization and urbanization and this theme will lead the participants to highlight the changes underway and the role and strategy of African local governments in the transition.”
The president of the STC 8 committee of the African Union, Mr. Barnabé Zinsou Dassigli, declared that the Africities Summit was considered by the ministers members of the STC 8 committee as one of the best opportunities offered to Africa to speak with one voice on the issue of decentralization and that this was the surest way to involve people in the management of affairs that concerned them.
Over the course of its successive editions, the Africities Summit has proven to be a great platform for the exchange of views for the implementation of decentralization policies
“Over the course of its successive editions, the Africities Summit has proven to be a great platform for the exchange of views for the implementation of decentralization policies in Africa. It is for this reason that the African Ministers of Decentralization have decided to establish Africities as the African space for the evaluation of the impact of decentralization policies and corresponding cooperation programs for the improvement of living conditions for citizens and the good governance of our states in general. This is why STC 8 wants to include the issue of the signing and ratification of the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralization, Local Governance and Local development on the agenda of the Africities Summit 2018.”
The mayor of Libreville and Africa Vice President of UCLG, Mrs. Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda, said she was convinced that Marrakesh 2018 would mark a milestone in the path towards the structural transformation of Africa advocated by Agenda 2063 of the AU. “I invite all municipalities around the world, especially those in Africa, to come and share with us the thinking that we are going to begin on the “transition to sustainable and resilient cities and territories.”
The President of the Moroccan Association of Presidents of Municipal Councils (AMPCC), Mr. Mohamed Boudra, stated that, “the Africities 2018 Summit will be an opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions, enrich experience and support African cooperation in the field of local management.”
The highlight of the ceremony was the handover of the baton to the city of Marrakesh, now host of the Africities 2018 Summit, and receiving the Africities flag from Mr. Mpho NAWA, representative of the President of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and host of the 7th edition of the Africities Summit held in 2015 in Johannesburg.
The Mayor of Marrakesh, Mr. Mohamed Larbi Belcaid, was delighted to accept the torch and launched a call for the massive participation of the different actors in this great event in the ‘ochre city’ considered to be the beating heart of Africa in motion.
Following the baton handover Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa, presented the framework and program of the Summit, as well as the requirements for participation and taking part in the Africities Exhibition, which is organized in parallel. Participants were invited to register online at the following sites:
For the Summit: www.Africities.org
For the Exhibition: www.SalonAfricites2018.com
Nearly 5,000 participants are expected at the conference and 500 exhibitors are expected at Africities.