Kisumu Governor Prof. Peter Anyang Nyong’o has called for more resources to be channeled towards the development of intermediary cities with 55% of Africa’s population expected to live in urban areas by 2050.
Prof. Nyong’o said recent health and climatic challenges like the Covid 19 continue to expose Africa’s frailties in managing urban populations, and there’s need to plan for future smart cities that could cater for the socio-economic and political requirements of the more than 1.2billion African population expected to live in cities by 2050.
He spoke at a virtual press conference over the weekend to give updates of the upcoming 9th Africities Summit to be held in Kisumu between 17th-21st May 2022 which is expected to attract over 10,000 visitors from across the globe. Also addressing the press conference was Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mr. Eugene Wamalwa and Mr. Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-A).
The Governor said with Africa’s rapid urbanization, intermediary cities like Kisumu are assuming greater importance as they are expected to host the bulk of the emerging urban population. There was need hence to craft appropriate policies that are geared towards future food, shelter, security, health and infrastructure needs of such cities, and that provide solutions to sustainable environmental use.
The three speakers declared Kisumu ready to host the Summit, which is for the first time being held in an intermediary city. Kenya last hosted the Africities Summit in 2006 when it was held in Nairobi. The Summit’s theme this year is, “The role of intermediary cities in Africa in the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the African Union Agenda 2063”.
Wamalwa said the government has in recent years availed the necessary resources to prepare Kisumu to host the Summit including constructing the ultra-modern Mamboleo Convention and Recreation Centre at a cost of Ksh. 1.4 billion which will be the venue.
The government has also upgraded roads within and around Kisumu and expanded other infrastructural facilities like the Kisumu Airport which can now handle 1 million visitors annually, the port of Kisumu and the refurbishment of the old meter gauge rail network into the city.
The Cabinet Secretary said Africities could draw lessons from Kenya’s successful implementation of devolution including how to devolve resource and decision making as the continent looks new governance models that ensure equitable distribution of resources to all.
The 9th Afri-Cities Summit is jointly organized by the UCLG Africa, the Kenya Government, the County Government of Kisumu, the Council of Governors, the African Union, the African Development Bank, UN Habitat, the European Union, UN Economic Commission for Africa and the Cities Alliance among others.
It will feature workshops to discuss among other topics, how to light up, feed, and improve the quality of life in intermediary cities, how to develop economic activities and employment in intermediary cities and the contribution of intermediary cities to African integration and unity.
Among those expected to attend the Summit include regional heads of state and government, ministers in charge of local government, housing, public service and urban development, local authorities and local elected officials, officials of local and central administration, civil society, trade organizations, economic operators in the public and private sector, researchers, academics and international cooperation agencies among others.
Mr. Elong Mbassi said the Africities forum was helping achieve the dream of the African renaissance and said the continent’s future lies in developing intermediary cities. He called for more integration of Africans living in the diaspora in conversations to determine the continent’s future as they have valuable insights they could share.