The United Cities and Local Governments of Africa’s signature Pan-African event, Africities, takes place every three years in one of the continent’s five regions. In addition to financial institutions, civil society organizations, and international and continental development partners, it mobilizes communities and local government units in African nations. All Africities Summits are structured to address key issues following the development of the 2063 Vision of Africa, with discussion topics suggested by the African Union Commission (Africities 2022).
The manifestation of a decision and a will is an Africities. The goal is to increase local and regional government involvement in the continent’s development and support Africa’s integration and unity from inside its borders. The largest democratic meeting held in Africa is the Africities Summit. It serves as the primary forum for discussion on decentralization and local governance, bringing together participants every three years from the African diaspora, civil society organizations, mayors, and elected officials of local and regional governments, as well as financial institutions, experts, researchers, and academics, as well as development partners (Africities 2022).
“The Role of Intermediary Cities of Africa in the Implementation of Agenda 2030 of the United Nations and the African Union Agenda 2063” was the focus of the 9th Africities Summit, which took place in Kisumu from May 17–21, 2022. The Africities Summit is being held for the first time in an intermediate city, Kisumu. The previous 8th Africities edition was hosted in Marrakesh, Morocco, from November 20–24, 2018, and a record-breaking 8,300 people attended (Africities 2018).
In the Luo language, Kisumu, also known as “Kisumo,” literally means a site of barter exchange. Kenyan port city Kisumu is located on Lake Victoria. It is renowned for the lakeside vistas at Hippo Point and Dunga Hill Camp. Herds of zebras and impalas are protected in the Kisumu Impala Sanctuary. Wild animals like cheetahs and baboons reside at its animal orphanage. The Kisumu Museum in the city houses items about the Nyanza Province’s inhabitants. Ruma National Park in the southwest contains high cliffs, roan antelope, and wildlife. When the Commonwealth of East Africa existed, Port Florence served as Lake Victoria’s main port (Kisumu City County).
The primary purpose of the town’s founding at the turn of the 19th century was to serve as the major inland endpoint of the Uganda railway, which was constructed in Asia. The town formerly had a quarter Asian population, and remnants of this may still be seen in the culture and infrastructure of the area. The main city in western Kenya, Kisumu serves as a hub for commerce, industry, and transportation thanks in large part to its water and rail connections. Formerly the seat of the broader Nyanza Province, the town has expanded to become Kenya’s third-largest metropolis after Nairobi and Mombasa and is now the administrative center for Kisumu County. The primary industries of Kisumu include those that process agricultural goods, fish, brew beer, and manufacture textiles (Kisumu City County).
The Africities Exhibition of Kisumu, which took place concurrently with the conference portion, featured: 5,000 square meters of exhibition space; 150 to 200 exhibitors from Africa and other continents, including country pavilions, institutional pavilions, and booths dedicated to public or private companies; B2B Meetings; and a series of workshops centered on the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) High Five, which are the following five major priorities:
The New Deal on Electricity for Africa is a partnership-driven initiative with the aspirational goal of attaining universal access to energy in Africa by 2025 and lighting up intermediate cities. A transformational partnership on energy for Africa has been developed by the African Development Bank in collaboration with governments, the private sector, and bilateral and international energy sector projects. This is a venue for innovative public-private funding in the energy industry in Africa (Africities 2022, AfDB 2019).
One of the African Development Bank’s High 5s, Feeding Intermediate Cities-Feed Africa, is the bank’s plan to make African agriculture a globally competitive, sustainable, inclusive, and business-oriented industry, producing wealth, creating jobs, and enhancing the quality of life. The approach will expand already-existing, productive enterprises across Africa (AfDB 2019).
The Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program’s (CAADP) commitments to agricultural transformation, wealth growth, and food security are echoed by Feed Africa. In addition, it helps fulfill several SDGs, such as “End Poverty” (SDG 1) and “Zero Hunger,” (SDG 2) and it advances the goals of the African Union Agenda 2063.
The African Development Bank’s High 5 agenda, which consists of projects and programs in the areas of education, employment, skills development, health, water, sanitation, nutrition, and youth entrepreneurship in Africa, is focused on improving the quality of life in intermediary cities. Africans, or the continent’s “human capital,” is truly at the center of this agenda for inclusive and environmentally friendly growth (AfDB 2019).
By 2030, Africa’s population might reach 1.6 billion, with over 70% of its citizens being able to find employment. The number of young people is likewise increasing quickly and is projected to more than double to 830 million by 2050. African adolescents and women must possess employable skills and be taught to handle the variety of duties, responsibilities, and roles that Africa’s modernization and industrialization will spawn for the continent to benefit the most profitably and abundantly from this population increase (AfDB 2019).
We are beginning from a very low foundation when it comes to developing economic activity and jobs in transitional cities. Africa’s GDP generated by the industry is just $700 per person on average, less than a third of Latin America’s ($2,500) and barely a fifth of East Asia’s ($3,400). The African Development Bank is dedicated to raising cash, lowering the risk of private sector investments, and using financial markets to industrialize Africa. Building a 21st-century Africa prepared to assume its due position in global value chains requires doing this (AfDB 2019).
Africa is another continent with a lot of promise and a market that is expanding quickly. By 2020, consumer expenditure will increase twofold to $1.4 trillion and by thrice to $2.1 trillion by 2025. Urban food demand is expected to quadruple to $1 trillion by 2030. Without taking into account the additional products that we should by that time be producing, processing, and exporting out of Africa, 2 billion people would also require food and clothes by 2030. This means that the necessary resources—infrastructure, capital, and labor—must originate in and be produced in Africa (AfDB 2019).
The role of gateway cities in the integration and unification of Africa cannot be underestimated. The African Development Bank is strategically positioned to act as a one-stop-shop to support the achievement of one of Africa’s development goals, the African Economic Community, thanks to its capacity for lending and financing, sharing knowledge, forging partnerships, and having the necessary capital backing. The path that Africa is taking to become a more integrated, competitive, and business-friendly continent seems optimistic. Africa has a promising future! (AfDB 2019).
One of the world’s consumer marketplaces with the quickest growth rates is in Africa. Since 2010, consumer spending in Africa has increased at a compound annual rate of 3.9 percent. By 2025 and 2030, respectively, this market is projected to grow to $2.1 trillion and $2.5 trillion. A single continental market for products and services with potential market size of 1.7 billion people would be made possible by the AfCFTA’s adoption (AfDB 2019).
On May 19, at the Africities Summit 2022 in Kisumu, Kenya, UNODC and United Cities and Local Governments (Africa) collaborated to hold a roundtable discussion. The side event gave policymakers, government agencies responsible for ensuring the welfare of children and youth, and young people themselves the opportunity to discuss how to prevent crime among children and youth and how to build resilience in this regard. Its theme was “Prevention of crime among children and youth through sustainable livelihoods in intermediary cities.” Structures that local governments must implement with technical assistance from the business sector to prevent criminal activity and its repetition when children and youth are the offenders and/or victims were among the current topics mentioned (UNODC 2022).
The Roundtable’s goals were to:
> Outline and discuss the theory of change, demonstrating the causal relationship between the expansion of educational and job options and the impact on crime prevention.
> Request input on whether the suggested joint endeavor is plausible.
> Talk about capacity development initiatives to guarantee the viability of the resources offered, such as employment and education.
> Identify the gaps and barriers to successful education and employment access (UNODC 2022).
The present interest in the continent’s development under the “Africa Rising” narrative, which is primarily coming from urban environments, is noteworthy. We should be worried about how cities will continue to contribute to Africa’s progress in the future since they have played a significant role in this expansion. The sort of growth, though, could not be the same as what we have seen in Africa thus far—the shift from resource-led to knowledge-led economies. Finding new engines for growth is the task, not just how to ensure that it continues. Cities play a significant role in this; to contribute to the future growth we require, they must be centers of creativity and innovation.
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