Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Decentralisation: vital to empowering local government to support post-Covid recovery

10 August 2023

 

CLGF held a regional conference for its members in West and Central Africa from 25-27 July in Yaounde, Cameroon. The meeting was hosted by Hon Georges Elanga Obam, Minister for Decentralisation and Local Development (MINDDEVEL), who is also the Vice Chairperson of CLGF, and it was delivered in close partnership with NINDDEVEL and United Cities and Councils of Cameroon (UCCC).

 

The Conference brought together representatives from local and central government from Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, The Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo, and was the first in-person CLGF regional meeting in west and central Africa since the pandemic. 

 

Following welcoming remarks from Mayor Messi Atangana Luc, City of Yaounde, Mayor Augustin Tamba, President of United Councils and Cities of Cameroon (UCCC) and Prof. Angwafor III Fru Fobuzshi, Vice-President of Association of Regions of Cameroon (ARC), delegates heard from CLGF Chairperson, Rev Mpho Moruakgomo, who travelled from Botswana to join the meeting, and Mr Jérôme Pons, the Cooperation Team Leader at the EU Delegation to Cameroon. The opening session concluded with a keynote address by Georges Elanga Obam, Minister of Decentralisation and Local Development (MINDDEVEL).

Accessing finance

Delegates welcomed the practical keynote address on access to finance at the local level presented by Gundula Loeffler from the ODI, and discussions focused on Building Back Better: Examining Social and Economic Strategies to Strengthen Resilience in West and Central Africa. Sessions provided a platform to discuss innovative finance and diversifying local government resources; addressing the climate crisis; local economic development and promoting inclusive and participatory local governance. The final session was an opportunity to debate and agree some concrete recommendations for action going forward. 

Outcomes

The Outcomes Statement sets out practical steps to further empower and enable local government to support their communities effectively as they recover from the pandemic, and as they continue to face considerable challenges, including the climate emergency, the impact of rapid urbanisation and the cost-of-living crisis. These outcomes will form the basis for CLGF’s on-going programming with its members in the region. It was agreed that the importance of cooperative multi-level governance and support for an active citizenry, underpinned with effective decentralisation; active leadership; access to innovative public and private funding sources; enhanced capacity, and greater autonomy in decision making and resource allocation must be at the heart of this.

 

During their stay, delegates were also able to see some very practical local projects being supported in Cameroon and to meet with the team at FEICOM, which supports municipal investment across the country.

CLGF conference on building reilience

Before the meeting started, it was a pleasure for the CLGF team to meet with Hon Felix Mbayu, Minister Delegate to the Minister of External Affairs in charge of Relations with the Commonwealth to discuss Commonwealth collaboration; and on concluding the discussions a delegation was honoured to have the opportunity to discuss the outcomes of the Conference with the Prime Minister, HE Joseph Ngute, and to brief him on the forthcoming Commonwealth Local Government Conference taking place in Kigali, Rwanda,14-17 November
 

 

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