By Lorraine Anyango and Annette Abondo
The business fraternity in Kisumu County has been called upon to prepare early for the 9th edition of the African Cities Summit.
Certain business takes time to be ready hence it will be prudent for them to be ready two months before the commencement of the summit in November 2021.
The summit which is coming to Kenya after 15 years, is expected to attract about 10,000 delegates including head of states, governors from different countries in Africa, city mayors among others.
“There are countries where the summit has taken place, however the benefits were not maximized, we want to make sure that everyone has been brought on board” Mr. Joe Ager who is chairing the planning committee said.
The planning team will conduct out reaches within Kisumu so as to reach out to people including small scale traders, entrepreneurs, and inventors, businesses in the fishing industry and the entire business community in the villages.
“Africities will enable us to take devolution to the grass root level, we want to ensure that development reaches to the smallest household within our county.” Mr. Ager said
Planning is already ongoing on how to engage the business fraternity, “Our goal is to engage everybody.” Mr. Ager added.
In bid to make Africities a reality, the governor of Kisumu county Hon Pro.Peter Nyongo will on Thursday 30th May 2019 sign an MOU between the National Government and, United Cities and Local Governments in Africa (UCLG-Africa).
The signing of the MOU will be led Mr.Eugine Wamalwa who heads the ministry of devolution, it will be witnessed by seven other cabinet secretaries from the ministries concerned with national security, tourism, infrastructure , foreign affairs , IT and the treasury department.
The MOU will also be witnessed by a delegate of 250 invited guest including senators from the LREB block, Members of parliament from Kisumu, all MCA’s from Kisumu county and heads of diplomatic calls, as well as heads of the UN urgency concerned with urban and community development, development partners and representatives of the different business sectors in Kisumu.
A joint team was formed between the National government and the county government of Kisumu on the road map mainly to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place.
Work has already started in Kisumu, the dredging machine bought to work in Lake Victoria, will go a long way to improve transport and trade on the lake as well as contribute to enable the delegates to see the beauty of the lake.
Expression of interest was done and applications of specialist in geophysical and special planning submitted applications to work ahead of the Africities summit.
Kenya will host Africities for the second time, the last time it was hosted in Nairobi in 2006, other cities that have hosted the Summit are Dakar, Johannesburg, Abidjan, Windhoek, Younde, Nairobi, and Marrakech.
The Africities Summit is a flagship event of the Pan African Organization United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa). It is held every three years in one of the five regions on the continent.
The 8th edition of the Africities took place in November 20-24 in Marrakesh, Morocco, under the theme: “The transition towards sustainable cities and territories: The role of Local and Sub- national governments of Africa.”
The local hotel industry will need to expand its facilities to successfully host a continental conference set for November 2021, Kisumu does not have enough facilities to host the conference and may need to work with neighbouring counties on accommodating delegates.
Local hotels currently have a bed capacity of 4,000 against 10,000 delegates expected to attend the meeting.
To maximize on the opportunity, Kisumu county government is already identifying idle homes and asking residents to offer extra rooms in their homes to bridge the gap.
In the month of April UCLG-Africa secretary general Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi made a visit to asses facilities ahead of the meeting.
Mr. Mbassi noted that Kisumu had a long way to go to fulfill requirements to host the conference, however the there was still has time to adequately prepare.
The meeting, by the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-Africa), also known as Africities Conference, brings together various stakeholders in development.
Africities mobilizes communities and local authorities, as well as financial institutions, civil society groups and development partners at continental and international level, to foster development.
The framework of all Africities summits seeks to matters captured in the 2063 Vision for Africa. Africa’s vision pursues two major objectives. The first objective is establishing collective schemes that aim to better the living conditions of the citizens at the grassroots level. The second objective is to enhance the unification, integration and peace of Africa from the local level.
The most recent Africities Summit was held in Marrakesh, Morroco from 20th to 24th November 2018. The event commemorated 20 years of the Africities Summit. The theme for that summit was ‘the transition to sustainable cities and territories, the role of local and sub-national governments of Africa’. The goal of the theme was to focus on the need for Local Africa to learn, promote and present a new approach to sustainable development.
The parties involved in the preparation and implementation of the summit are the Political Commission, the Executive Commission, and the Operational Commission. The political commission is composed of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLGA) members and headed by the UCLGA’s current president.
The political commission is mandated the summit’s venue, date and theme. In consultation with host’s authorities, they also approve the summit’s budget and validate the closing report of the summit’s closing accounts presented by external auditors. After the conclusion of the summit, the political commission monitors and evaluates the implementation of the recommendations in collaboration with designated institutions.
The executive commission comprises of the Chairman of the National Association of Local Governments, who chairs the commission; the representative of the Minister in charge of Local Governments; the Mayor of the City that hosted the preceding edition of the Summit; and the UCLGA Secretary General who fulfills the function of the Commission Secretariat.
The commission is in charge of preparations of the summit’s meetings and supervision of the exhibition’s activities, design and implementation of the summit’s communication strategy, logistics and protocol questions and preparation of the summit’s draft budget. They are basically in charge of the preparation and implementation of the Political Commission decisions.
The operational commission comprises of the Mayor of the City of the Africities, who is also the chairperson of the Commission; a representative of the Central Government (Ministry in charge of Local Governments); a representative of the National Association of Local Governments; and a representative of the UCLGA General Secretariat, who fulfills the functions of Secretariat of the Commission. The commission is tasked with the management of the summit’s resources, implementation of relating expenses in compliance with the summit’s financial regulations, monitoring the execution of the communication plan, supervision of the summit’s and exhibition’s operations and supervision of the publication of the summit’s proceedings.
The summit is divided into six segments: the political session, sessions on the transition, local strategies and policies sessions, stakeholder’s sessions, open sessions and exceptional events.
It entails meetings of mayors, local authorities and ministers followed by a political dialogue between mayors and local authorities, African institutions and development partners.
The transition session discusses changes in Africa’s demography, ecology, politics and democracy, economy and culture. The local strategies and policies session looks into the planning and programming strategies for transition at the local level.
The stakeholder session identifies the role of financial institutions, trade unions, civil societies and other stakeholders in the transition. Open sessions allow those wishing to support the local authorities to submit their proposals and contribute to the reflections.
The exceptional events include the exhibition exchange, a gala dinner, host country’s cultural event performance, issuing of awards and any other essential meeting regarding the summit’s theme.
With the demand for electricity increasing, the County Government is banking on ambitious renewable energy programme to increase grid connectivity in all households by 90% before 2022.
Reports show that only 46% of the County’s general population is connected to the grid.
According to the County renewable energy Director, Eng. Daniel Okia to make up for the deficit, aggressive investments on green energy have been made even as the department adopts counter measures to cut household dependency on grid electricity.
Okia was speaking in Holo, Seme sub-county where he joined Pan African Climate Justice Alliance and WoMin Africa members on a bench marking exercise of solar powered systems in the County.
With a 3.1KW solar power box installed in the market, profits have improved significantly with the traders benefiting from extended working hours the station provides.
“To support similar initiatives the County Government has laid out plans to replicate the technology in other parts of the County. Plans are also underway to erect centralized outputs for clean energy generation”. Added Eng. Okia.
The team also visited an integrated solar water pump station in the locality. The system is powered by 64 solar panels with a 16KW capacity.
By: Collins Owuor