East Africa: local and central government forging links
01 February 2023
Local government in the East Africa region continues to ‘up its game’ in relation to strengthening relationships with national governments. Much of this work is being achieved through the East Africa Local Government Forum or EALGF.
Bringing together key stakeholders
The EALGF is a complimentary advocacy forum which allows a space for the national local government associations in the region to build synergies with central government ministries of local government. In November, the Forum organised a strategic planning meeting for members in Dar es salaam, Tanzania. As well as local government and ministries, it brings together a range of important regional actors in the local government sphere to address the key challenges facing local governments. Most importantly, it also strives to build stronger collaboration between local government and the East Africa Community – or the EAC.
The Forum is currently chaired by Tanzania through the Ministry of Local Government in the President’s office. One of the objectives of this planning meeting was to review the progress of current activities and to develop an annual work plan to guide the EALGF’s interventions for the 2022 to 2023 financial year.
The Permanent Secretary, Mr Samuel Dusengiyumva, from the Ministry of Local Government, Rwanda chaired the session and led discussions on the progress made since the last meeting in February 2022 in Arusha, where the East Africa Local Government Association – the body that represents the associations and local government of East Africa, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the EAC and the issues facing the association.
Five year strategic plan
Professor Rizik Shemdoi, Principal Secretary, President's Office for Regional Administration and Local Governments, Tranzania, explained that the objective of the planning session was to prepare the implementation strategy to convince ministers in the region of what the EALGA had to include in their strategic plan and achieve over the next five years. The plan would feature the 15 recommendations agreed at the Arusha meeting in February 2022; grouped in five thematic areas, including regional and national policy and capacity building.
While presenting the background information, the EALGA Secretary-General, Ms Gertrude Rose Gamwera, shared that this would be the third strategic plan for EALGA, following the one for 2013-2017. She told members: “I should like to acknowledge the role of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum in supporting the exercise from the start; and all the participants, in particular, Rwanda’s Permanent Secretary and his team for their consistent availability.” They has played a key role in the Virtual Ideas Collection meeting in May, facilitated by Kubeshni Govendar, a CLGF consultant.
Ms Gamwera went on to remind members of their commitments towards strengthening the voice, capacity and advocacy for county and local government institutions, urging them to think more about cities, with urbanisation high on the global agenda. She added that technical planning would feed into the policy decisions by the ministries and called for commitment from the participants as they discussed and learnt about resilience for their communities.
Mr Vicent Kibimbira facilitated the strategic planning exercise and provided guidance on the development of the strategic action plan. He emphasized the important role of the strategic plan in realizing the goals of the association.
Commonwealth Local Government Conference 2023
Rwanda’s Permanent Secretary closed off the session with an invitation to members to attend the CLGF Commonwealth Local Government Conference 2023 that was due to take place in Kigali, later on this year.
EALGA held a meeting of their Executive Committee, the regional body for umbrella associations of local governments in the region after the planning session and both meetings were hosted by was also held after the planning session.
The meeting was hosted by Rwanda and Tanzania, with support from CLGF and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction in Africa (UNDRR). EALGF leadership is elected on a rotational basis, to ensure that every country is accountable to the Forum. Uganda is set to take over the reins in March 2023.
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