Jozi ready to host Africa cities Summit
Johannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau on Monday hosted the Africities Diplomatic Corps as preparations for the staging of the Africities Summit in Johannesburg later this year get under way.
Scheduled to be held from November 29 to December 3 at the Sandton Convention Centre, the summit is expected to be attended by more than 5 000 delegates from all over the continent and beyond.
The theme of the summit is “Shaping the Future of Africa with the People: Africa’s Local Government Contribution to the Africa 2063 Vision.”
Two other important global summits will be held around the same time – the Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris and the UN General Assembly’s 2015 Millennium Development Goals Review Summit.
On Monday Mayor Tau told several African and international diplomats, mayors and top local government leaders and officials that Johannesburg was ready to welcome the world for the Africities Summit.
“As the City of Johannesburg, we feel privileged to host the Africities Summit 2015. This event has developed into a premier showcase of tried and tested developmental innovations by local governments and cities of our continent.
"It also plays an increasingly important role in creating discourse, dialogue and debate on African cities,” the Mayor said.
He said the theme was highly appropriate, especially considering the myriad challenges encountered by African countries at local government level. He said for African cities to survive and prosper in the 21st century, officials needed to work closely with their constituencies and tap into the African Union’s Vision 2063.
“More than ever before, African cities are at the forefront of rapidly accelerating change. Africa’s prospects in 2015 are remarkably different from what they were in 2000: African economies have grown at rates rivalling those of East Asia – averaging 6% in 2013. Such growth is driven by natural resources, a vibrant services sector, rising private investment, increased exports and improved agricultural production.”
But Africa was lagging behind on achieving the Millennium Development Goals targets, particularly poverty, job creation and food security. He said a focused response from local governments was required.
The summit will encourage dialogue on more innovative programmes to tackle climate change, rapid urbanisation and demand for housing, youth unemployment and other challenges.
“We must send out a clear message that as African cities, regions and local authorities, we remain committed to serving our people by involving them in decision-making processes. This will ensure that as governments we are not disconnected from our people. This will also ensure that we consolidate our voices for the betterment of the continent.”
Tshwane Executive Mayor Councillor Kgosientso Ramokgopa congratulated the City for being chosen to host the summit and pledged his support.
Democratic Republic of Congo ambassador and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps Bene M’poko said it was time for action.
“My frustration is that we talk a lot and do very little [after summits]. In Sandton, let’s come up with a pragmatic approach, a programme of action to implement these resolutions,” he said.
The City is hosting the summit in partnership with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, South African Local Government Association and South African Cities Network.