By Amadou Jallow, Program Officer for Communication, GALGA
The 9th edition of the Africities Summit of local governments of Africa has ended in the Kenyan port city of Kisumu last week with Gambia’s local government authorities returning with huge achievements.
The five days summit was opened by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Jomo Kenyatta Stadium, where he reiterated the role of Local Government Authorities as dispensable leaders in scaling up the role of intermediary cities. It was held under the theme: The Role of Intermediary Cities of Africa in the Implementation of United Nations Agenda 2030 and the African Union Agenda 2063.
Gambia was represented at the summit by officials from the local government authorities and the secretariat of The Gambia Association of Local Government Authorities (GALGA), led by its president, Landing B Sanneh.
During congresses of various bodies of UCLGA, GALGA was elected into several important bodies, including membership into its Pan African Council and the election of Mayor of Banjul as President of the Network of Local Elected Women of Africa (REFELA).
“The Kisumu summit is one of the most successful engagements Gambia Local Government Authorities have participated in with the signing of important accords and meetings with potential partners,” GALGA President and head of the delegation, Landing B Sanneh said.
Mr. Sanneh said recognizing Gambia’s local government authorities at such gathering with respectable representation and participating at all levels of the summit was an achievement.
During the summit, President Sanneh and his team also had a series of sideline engagements with county governors, ministers, and international development partners.
He thanked the Ministry of Lands and regional government, and the Local government authorities for their corporation and expressed optimism that with the current trend, they are on the verge of changing the face of local government development in the Gambia through participation.
Mr. Sanneh also thanked the GALGA secretariat for technical backstopping and providing the necessary secretariat work and assured taxpayers that LGAs will spear no efforts to work hard to improve the local governance and decentralization system in the Gambia.
Gambia’s participation in the Summit has provided Local Government Authorities the opportunity for recognition on the African continent and beyond that can bring forth the realization of increased networking and partnership with other Local Government Authorities in Africa and beyond.
As the materialization of a choice and a will to strengthen the role of local and regional governments in the development of the continent, Africities aims to build the integration and unity of Africa from its territories. The Africities summit is the largest democratic gathering organized in Africa.
Addressing participants at the closing of the summit, UCLGA Secretary General, Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, said now is the time for African states to close ranks together and advance the achievement of the ‘Africa we want for inclusive development.
Confirmation of Membership in UCLGA Pan African Council
At the congress of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA) General Assembly that was held during the summit, GALGA was confirmed as a full member of the UGLGA Pan-African Council of Mayors, the body that elects the political leadership of UCLG Africa.
The congress was attended by GALGA President Landing B. Sanneh, First Vice President Foday Danjo, and the Mayor of Banjul Rohey Malick Lowe.
Membership in UCLG Africa Council of Secretary Generals
During the summit, GALGA was confirmed as a full-time member of the Council of UCLG Africa Network of Secretary Generals of National and Regional Associations of Local Governments in Africa.
The establishment of the Network is in consideration of the centrality and crucial position of the function of Secretary Generals within National and Regional Associations of Local and Regional Governments, as the linchpin of the umbrella organizations.
Secretary Generals play a fundamental role in the recognition, visibility, anchoring, and capitalization of achievements, as well as the enhancement and promotion of the Association not only at national but also at continental and global levels with their Peers.
The Network is established to develop collaborative links between umbrella associations of Local and Regional Governments alongside the bodies and structures of UCLG Africa; to disseminate best practices, share experiences between members and promote peer learning.
The signing of the Partnership accord with the Moroccan Local Government Association
At the fringes of the summit, GALGA also signed a partnership agreement with the National Association of Local Governments of Morocco (ANCLM). The accord which was signed on behalf of GALGA by its president and by Aâtimad Zahidi signed on behalf of ANCLM will touch on areas of health, waste management, and education.
The accord will provide Gambia Local Government Areas the opportunity to access training and adequate provision of services to taxpayers in the areas of education and the management of waste.
Partnership meeting with Constituency Development Fund Engagement Officer
The GALGA President and the team also held a possible partnership meeting with the engagement officer of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), an organization that works with countries and institutions to showcase their activities to investors and analyze projects for partners what they would like to realize.
Officials of GALGA and member councils expressed interest to work with the organization to ensure that the voices of the people they represent are heard beyond borders.
At the meeting, Chief Executive Officer of Brikama Area Council, Modou Jonga said rapid urbanization is one of the challenges they are facing but his Council and others have prepared Strategic Development Plans in which climate mitigation is one of the main areas of intervention.
Chairman of Brikama and of Kerewan Area Councils, Sheriffo Sonko and Malamin IL Bojang both expressed local government authorities’ interest to partner with CDF and other like-minded organizations to deliver life-changing results to taxpayers.
GALGA Secretary General Amadou Tambedou said his organization is the consortium and mouthpiece of all the Local Government Authorities in The Gambia to empower councils to adequately respond to the urgent needs of the people they serve.
Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe Elected REFELA President
In an election held during the ongoing Africities 9 Summit in Kenya’s port city of Kisumu, Banjul City Council BCC Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe; Banjul Mayoress was elected President of the Network of Local Elected Women of Africa (REFELA).
Mayor Lowe replaced Macoura Coulibaly Dao of Ivory Coast.
“This is a great achievement for The Gambia that presents a unique opportunity for our Local Government Administration in our development efforts,” GALGA President Landing B. Sanneh, Chairman, MKAC commented about the election.
Along with the entire Local Government Leaders, most of who are equally attending the summit, they congratulate Mayor Lowe on her election and assured her of GALGA’s support at all times.
Awarding of Certificates to two LGA officials
Two of the GALGA delegates who participated in a Training of Trainers session on Module 4 of Localization of the SDGs through Decentralized Cooperation in English from 28 June to 1 July 2021 were awarded Certificates by the UCLGA training academy, African Local Governments Academy (ALGA).
The certificates were awarded to Modou Jonga, Chief Executive Officer of Brikama Area Council, and Haruna Barry, Acting Chairman of Janjangbureh Area Council.
The training was organized in partnership with the Learning Department of UCLG. In total, 77 Managers in charge of Decentralized Cooperation and International Relations at the level of Associations or Local Governments who participated in the trading were awarded certificates.
The United Nations sustainable development goals (SFGs) established a series of bold, yet essential targets to be achieved by 2030 which combine social inclusion, economic development, and sustainability.
Commenting on the achievements, GALGA president Landing B Sanneh said, “Gambia has marked a name in the international local government administration from this summit, considering the executive positions that GALGA now occupies in the UCLGA and the Global Parliament of Mayors.”
Election into Council of YELO
GALGA has also been elected into the network of Young Elected Local Officials (YELO), a council of young elected politicians under UCLGA.
The Network is created to provide discussion and sharing of good practices among young African elected leaders to advance local government development and decentralization on the African continent.