Delegates from all over Africa converged in Kisumu for the 9th Africities Summit from May 17-21. The Summit which was officially opened by Kenyan Uhuru Kenyatta at the Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Mamboleo is being held under the theme the role of intermediary cities of Africa in the implementation of agenda 2030 of the United Nations and the African Union agenda 2063. As part of the opening ceremony, the President participated in a High Level Dialogue on Infrastructure and Urban Development.
Kisumu is the first intermediary city to host the summit which has brought participants from 110 different countries. Kenya is pushing for intermediary cities like Kisumu, Nakuru and Mombasa to be made more sustainable to accommodate the increasing population.
According to a report by the Standard Newspaper, 50% of the population in Africa will be living in intermediary cities by 2050 and it is therefore important to prepare them for the huge population. With the ever-growing population, it has become vital to establish these cities by building affordable housing, proper waste management and provision of clean water.
By hosting the summit in Kisumu, it provides the city an opportunity to showcase its potential for sustaining a huge population in the coming years. Capital cities like Nairobi are currently overwhelmed by the rural-urban migration. This migration has led to rapid increase in slums and high rate of insecurity because of inadequate resources and opportunities to cater for the large population.
With the large number of attendees, Kisumu and the neighboring region is able to accommodate everyone in the hotels, a manifestation that if more is invested in the intermediary cities, people would not have to move to capital cities in search of opportunities. Investing in intermediary cities will also bring growth in the areas surrounding them.
The summit provides the opportunity to start building infrastructure like roads and budget for it in good time. This will help reduce the influx of people in capital cities and provide economic growth to the surrounding areas. Eventually, it will enhance employment, reduce cases of insecurity in cities and improve the general economic growth of the country.
Africities is a Pan Africa conference that is convened by the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa’s (UCLG-A) and brings together the leadership of cities and sub national governments and their associations for the advancement of decentralization and local governance aimed at improving the living standards of the citizens.
Africities Summits have been held every three years since 1998 when the first meeting was held in Abijan, Ivory Coast. Other Cities to host the summit include Johannesburg-South Africa, Dakar-Senegal and Marrakech-Morocco (twice).