At the fifth session of the Africities summit held in Marrakech, Morocco in December 2009, the Cities Alliance was awarded a prize in recognition of its on-going support to local governments, particularly those in Africa. The award was presented under “Tools and Methods of Support to Local Governments”.
His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, opened the Summit, which was attended by local government officials from African nations as well as representatives from international organisations such as the World Bank, UN-HABITAT, German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), and from various private sector institutions.
The Cities Alliance held a joint session in collaboration with ISTED titled “Defining Planning Programming Processes” that was one of the best attended events at the Summit. The session was moderated by Tewodros Tigabu, Cities Alliance’s regional advisor for East and Central Africa, and Xavier Crepin, Executive Director of Institut des Sciences et des Techniques de l'Equipement (ISTED).
As a backgrounder to the joint session, Cities Alliance Urban Specialist, Jean Christophe Adrian presented a paper on “Guiding Urbanisation in Africa for Economic Development and Poverty Reduction”. The paper, which was available in both English and French, formed the basis for much of the discussion during the session. Participants stressed the need for adopting a culture of pro-poor, participatory planning and programming in Africa, and the development of corresponding tools and methods to enable these.
Another paper titled “Local Governments and the Financial Crisis: An Analysis” was presented by Thierry Paulais, Senior Urban Finance Specialist at Cities Alliance. It was presented at both a plenary session and a thematic session on renewing local governance and management sponsored by Agence Française de Développement (AFD).
The Africities 5 Summit ended in Marrakech on 20 December 2009 with a call by the participants for a collective effort to tackle the continent’s major challenges, such as debt, poverty and global warming. In his closing remarks Moroccan Interior Minister, Chakib Benmoussa underlined Morocco's policy of working alongside local authorities to encourage development by helping them mobilise financial and human resources and set up sectoral programmes to strengthen their infrastructure.
The minister said he hoped the conference would lead to a common approach among African local authorities to cope with the international crisis and proposed the creation of a fund to finance their projects.