The 6th Summit Africities that took place in Dakar, Senegal from 4 to 8 December 2012 marked a turning point in the history of Africities. It brought together over 5,000 participants among which 2,500 African local elected officials. Africities is the space of recognition of the growing legitimacy of African local governments. This recognition was expressed by the presence and effective participation of three former Heads of States, among the most eminent personalities of the continent: President Pedro Pirés of Cape Verde, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and President Nicéphore Soglo of Benin. This recognition is also manifested through the renewed interest of African and international institutions and the active participation of the civil society organisations, economic stakeholders, technician experts, academics and the media.
The theme of the 6th Africities was ‘ How to build Africa from its territories? ’ African local government, like their counterpart in other parts of the world, must consider the impact of globalisation, urbanisation and democratisation on territories at different levels and the articulation among these levels. They must therefore incorporate into their political vision the essential contribution of local governments in improving people’s life and building the foundations of a new citizenship. This new citizenship should be plural: at the same time local, national and African. Thus the necessity of adopting a new strategy: starting from the local territory in order to redefine national spaces and invent the Africa perspective.
African local governments recognise the importance of national spaces. National sovereignty will be updated by citizen action. Democratisation contributes to building the confidence between the people and the public institutions through local economic and social action and citizen participation.
Africities 2012 has proven the capacity of the movement of local elected officials, by inaugurating exchanges between African mayors and Chinese, Turkish and Brazilian mayors. Similarly, the concrete implementation of unity of the continent will be strengthened by the inter-African decentralised cooperation.
The 6th Summit Africities was closed with a tripartite dialogue between mayors, ministers and development partners. This dialogue highlighted the importance of a conducive national environment for the action of local government and their associations (mobilisation of local government’s own resources, status of national associations, transfer of competences and resources, etc.). It revealed the rightful place of local government in the landscape of international cooperation. This dialogue also highlighted the need to adopt an African Charter on Local Governance and to set up a High Council of Local Authorities within the African Union.
http://www.africites.org/ The ACP-Local Government Platform (ACPLGP) participated in the 6th Summit Africities. For any further information, please contact the Platform at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the Africities website