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Accueil / Africités / Kisumu 2022 / Sessions politiques #Political #Politiques / Dialogue entre anciens chefs d’État et des jeunes élus

Dialogue entre anciens chefs d’État et des jeunes élus

His Excellence Joaquin Chisano : Former President of Mozambique
His Excellence Danny Faure : Former President of Seychelles

Contexte

The 9th Africities summit is a reminder that Africa is a melting point for intellectuals and experts. It brings us to contemplate on challenges facing the continent so that we can use it to achieve the SDGs. Africa should focus on the place of Intermediary Cities in governments to urban resilience, infrastructure and youth.

During the session, youth managed to ask pertinent questions in regard to their role in the social, economic and political aspects for former Heads of States where the latter gave response to their questions while also providing recommendations.

Africities is a movement of the movement. There is a very long road to go, but it will make a difference because African women have the recipe of governance and care. Africa should ensure that Women lead municipals movement. Without women we will not be able to shape the movement of the future. Embrace the SDGs number 11 and development from the bottom up. The UCLG Africa leadership has been taken over by very strong women.

Ministers, development partners must drum support for the ratification of the values and principles of decentralization of local government to secure their existence. They should also form urban policies and laws and address urban poverty and inequalities being experienced by youths, cities to adopt technology that are smart and friendly to youths.

Youth stop relying on external assistance and start being a solution to the problems they are experiencing. In addition, local authorities should be involving the youths in the planning process.

Discussions

Q : Young people are committing to local government and local policies but many of their colleagues feel that they are losing their time in politics. All countries have adopted the decentralization. What we continue to experience revenue are at central governments. What should be done to reverse the situation ?
Rejoinder : I came into contact with Africities because of problems but the movement is going with the big acceleration and one of the designs is that we see women now becoming real more equal with men in this movement.
Rejoinder as for decentralization : it would be important for the local government and cities to try their best to engage a dialogue between the state and themselves and utilize their associations of municipalities in each country. It could be used to cause this permanent dialogue to solve the problems. Mozambique was never decentralized due to lack of resources but exchanges with other countries led them to change.

Q : Small islands and Africa as whole are concerned by climate change. Adaption to it is a must but so far its consequences is at the local government while as the discussion is at the central city ?
Rejoinder : give local government a space to sit at the table because adaptation is at the local govern. It is important we have other table for representatives from Intermediary Cities and local governments.

  • On adaptation Africa needs to focus on own energy on the concept of loss and damage as a facility is created and we need to ensure it is approved so that nations facing challenges can benefit from it.
  • Africa should talk for global goal for adaptation and push for its structures and strategies.
  • Leaders should pay attention to the use of resources like woods, forests and the way the constructions are done in towns and cities. During hurricanes there are floods in town and it is because there are areas which are populated amid poor planning. They should prepare for worst scenario.
  • Think for worst scenario and coordinate with all institutions of the government.
  • Legislations must be revised to see if it can force the central government to give more help to the central government for them to have the means and work together including private sectors.
  • New alternative energy has to be found, and a country can stop use of charcoal and then they will have a voice in front of the development world. If Africa takes precautions it can show that it is making efforts for the latter to compensate the continent.

Q Africa is just implementing Africa trade area yet the missing link seems to be the local government. Why not devise a program for upgrading equipment and facilities for local government including Intermediary Cities ?
Rejoinder : NEPAD is an agency of an African Union. The district is a focus of development so planning should start there. The aim is to have people participate as it is the development for the people by the people.

  • Young people should not wait but engage with all institutions, the government and the AU.
  • Youth are an instrument to deal with specific problems, the erosion, floods in towns, pollution starts there. It is necessary that they regard themselves as the pole of development.
  • Africa has a young population and needs to back itself with solid programs to support the future.

Q : The former President of Mali called upon the need to change the borders of Africa created by colonialism what is your take ?
Rejoinder : if we decentralize and put systems in place where movement of goods and systems and populations are satisfied, that will be removing the borders. Capacity building is required to the leadership, women and young people in the continent. African countries should never close interchange at the borders but should allow its people to interact in terms of trade as integration without the people is nothing.

Q : COVID caused overdependence what should we be doing to master our self-reliance. What can you advise the local government to do and the young to have a better confidence in the future of this continent. How do you reverse the trend of young people feeling they have no future ?
Rejoinder : Develop the concept that you are capable. You cannot always depend on developed countries particulars our ex colonisers as they are not in hurry in seeing us equally to them. Develop our capacities at least to know what we want. Let us mobilize our resources including the human resources as we can help each other.
Rejoinder : COVID 19 has exposed Africa weaknesses of the health systems and we need to fix it. African should put in place solid structures within the local governments. Africa has got problems on water and sanitation ; have to step up the level of investment in water and sanitation to prevent this problem in the next years. South Africa and Senegal are now manufacturing vaccines. WHO has a more serious work to be done in the continent to support in building capacity to local government so that Africa has preparedness when it has these calamities.

Comments by both presidents focused on decentralisation, the role of youth in development, resource mobilization, the impact of Covid 19 on Africa and the development of a common African Market.
President Joaquim Chissano Comments On Decentralization : When he started decentralization in Mozambique, the main challenges were human capital and resources. He saw decentralization as as a way to capacitate people at the local level, which would lead to development in regions. Municipalities were places with people and not just territories. Decentralization gave autonomy to municipalities in phases. Mozambique decentralized faster than President Chissano had imagined. At his time, there were just three universities – one public and two private. Today the youth are empowered in education as there are more than 40 universities.
On Youth : young people need to mobilize local resources and liaise with central government to plan development.
On Climate Change : Local governments, which are most affected by climate change, are not directly involved in discussions on climate change. What can be done to invite them to the discussion at COPE27 in Egypt. It is also necessary to revise legislation that would compel central governments (including the private sector) to provide help for the local governments in the case of worst scenario.
On Resource Mobilization : NEPAD was used as a mechanism to pull resources together for development in Africa. It was set up as an initial step in planning before engaging with potential donors and development partners, especially in infrastructure. At the local level, leadership of intermediary cities should wait for help ; they should engage all institutions all the way even to the AU.
On Food Security : He commented that leaders need to play a role in guaranteeing availability of food for the population either through internal production or trade with neighbors. He added that Africans have to develop the mentality that they are capable.
On the Role of Development Partners : Africans cannot always depend on the development partners, particular the ex-colonizers. Africans have to define their agenda and clearly define what they want and develop programs of helping or uplifting each other. Africans also need to work on methods of negotiating with development partners.
President Danny Faure’s Comments on Decentralization in Seychelles :
On Decentralization : Seychelles started decentralization in Seychelles in 1993. Today, young people have a voice and do participate in governance and decentralization and intermediary cities should be part of this conversation. African governments need to scale up programs to support young people into the future.
On Climate Change : Climate change is causing loss and damage and its negative impacts need to be emphasized in order to help nations that are seriously affected by climate change. African governments and intermediary cities need to be involved in strategies for adaptation to climate change.
On an African Free Market : Each country in Africa should advance the dream of a single African market. The way to do is to decentralize and make local governments more effective so that the movement of goods and services is easy. In addition, we need to build capacity, enable leadership, especially of women and young people. Nobody can stop the wave of goods and services across borders in Africa today.
On the Impact of Covid 19 & Health Systems : Covid-19 exposed the weakness of the African health system – there is an urgent need to fix the system ; we need to have solid local government structures and capacity ; step up investment in water and sanitation in order to anticipate a likely serious problem with the two in near future ; WHO should do more serious work in Africa to support local governments and cities to build capacity to increase levels of preparedness for future tragedy.

Way Forward

States should go first where it is impossible to give more power to people where they live and where they are capable of showing capacity to organize themselves, and develop the resources which they have.
They should also create municipalities and give autonomies by phases. Resources should be developed by youth, mobilize resources locally, take responsibilities, develop it.
Design with government how to proceed so that youth have the resources that is required and should take responsibilities and find partners outside to help the central government.

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