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Uhuru to lead presidents, VIPs at Africities Summit in Kisumu

 Ongoing preparations ahead of the Africities Conference at Jomo Kenyatta Stadium in Kisumu on May 13, 2022. [Denish Ochieng,Standard]

Presidents and high ranking delegates from across Africa will be attending the first ever Africities Summit in Kisumu City from tomorrow.

Among conversation points during the five-day event will be how well-prepared cities and intermediary cities are in climate change mitigation, adaptation, plans and actions, according to the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG-Africa), the key organisers of the Pan Africa Summit aimed at decentralising local governance to improve people’s standards of living.

Intermediary cities are cities away from the capital. In Kenya, it includes Mombasa and Kisumu, which is the first intermediary city to play host since the event started in 1998.

The 9th Africities Summit under the patronage of President Uhuru Kenyatta will have among the expected guests Macky Sall, the President of Senegal and the African Union (AU), former president of Niger, Mohamadou Issoufu, ex-US Secretary of State John Kerry, AU Commission chair, Maimuna Mohd Sharif and Executive director UN-Habitat, Vera Songwe.  

Others are Kenyan Hollywood actress Lupita Nyong’o, whose father is Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang Nyong’o, former football stars Didier Drogba and Samuel Et’oo, the current Cameroon Football Federation President.

The over 5,000 delegates expected in Kisumu will be the highest at an Africities Summit, whose theme is, ‘The Role of Intermediary Cities of Africa in the implementation of Agenda 2030 of the United Nations and the African Union Agenda 2063’.

Different cities will have task force teams highlighting their environmental policies, management and action plans for assessment, mitigation and adaptation to the climate change crisis besides how they are mainstreaming climate change into agriculture, transport and industries.

Kisumu County Executive Committee for Water, Environment and Natural Resources, Salmon Orimba said the lakeside city will showcase how the introduction of non-motorised transport into the Central Business District has reduced carbon emission

“We are encouraging people to walk rather than drive cars, and we are highly discouraging boda boda operators to the CBD to minimise our carbon footprint,” Orimba said.

Kisumu County has over 50 solarised boreholes which has highly reduced the cost of energy. Further, the county has introduced several electric vehicles and motorbikes in the city.

The first day will also see other sideline events looking at the role of intermediary cities in Africa's structural transformation and response to the Covid-19 pandemic besides challenges of climate change and the digital divide.

Africities Summits are held every three years with the first one held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast 24 years ago. Other hosts were Johannesburg, South Africa; Dakar, Senegal and Marrakech, Morocco.

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