Bringing together Local Government in East Africa
30 May 2018
Local government stakeholders in East Africa have been meeting to set the priorities for local authorities going forward.
Ministers of local government and devolution, together with presidents of national associations of local government, representatives of the Council of Governors, Kenya, the East African Local Government Association, permanent secretaries and secretaries general from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, are meeting in Kenya to shape the future priorities for local government within the region, including as a partner in the regional integration efforts.
Organised by the Commonwealth Local Government Forum in partnership with the East African Local Government Association, the Council of Governors and the Ministry of Devolution and ASALs, the event has been funded by the European Union, with which CLGF has a strategic partnership agreement to promote the role of local government as a partner in development across the Commonwealth.
Key priorities for the region
Following executive meetings of the East African Local Government Association (EALGA) on 28 and 29 May, the East African Local Government Forum (EALGF) has been considering priority issues for local government across the region. Themes range from localising the Sustainable Development Goals, and equitable economic growth and local economic development; to engaging women and youth in decision-making, and service delivery including cross-border. Discussions have a particular focus on regional engagement, opportunities for regional exchange and learning, understanding the work of development partners in the region and how to strengthen links with the East African Community and the integration process.
New Chair and Vice Chair for EALGA
It has been a packed week of stimulating discussions, with the official swearing in of EALGA's new Chair - Gulamhafeez Abubakar Mukadam and his Vice chair. Mathias Spaliviero from UN Habitat shared information about implementing the new urban agenda in East Africa, highlighting the importance of strengthening local government’s revenue base to enable city governments to deliver effectively for citizens.
The European Commission's Eric Beaume spoke - via video link - about the EU's support for local government as actors in development, and moves to focus support more strongly on cities and also gender.
There was broad agreement with a statement by Mr Jean Baptiste Kirimwinzigo from Burundi’s national association, that effective decentralisation is key to effective localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Senior Programme Officer with the Council of Governors in Kenya, Ken Oluoch, shared some of Makueni County's local economic development work in establishing a mango processing plant and support from EuropeAid in further developing the value chain.
More inspiring conversations took place with colleagues from the Kenya Governors about aligning more closely the Commonwealth Women in Local Government Network (ComWLG) to work together to support and champion women’s leadership across the Commonwealth. This coincides with the election of Marie Chantal Rwakazina as the new Mayor of Rwanda's capital city - Kigali.
The work of the EAC impacts on local government in many ways: free movement of citizens, cross border trade, harmonisation of tax collection are very real issues being tackled by local government, and the sector is keen to build a more strategic relationship so that its voice is heard in regional policy making.
Exciting times ahead for East Africa and the main outcomes will be captured in a statement which will guide the work of EALGF and its members in strengthening local democracy, voice and services across the region.
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