The Annual General Meeting of the Association of Local Governments of East Africa and the Annual Meeting of the Forum of Local Governments of East Africa (EALGA) opened in Kigali with a call for leaders to collaborate for regional integration and through the post COVID19 pandemic.
The meeting and assembly, bringing together representatives of local governments from six countries of the East African Community (EAC), were officially opened on October 6, 2021 by Jean-Marie Vianney Gatabazi, Rwandan Minister of Communities local and current president of EALGA.
EALGA, by constitution, holds an annual general meeting as the main political body to inform and guide the activities of the new year.
In a similar way, on the other hand, the EALGF (established in Kampala, Uganda in 2013) holds its annual meeting every two years to elect a new president and mobilize all stakeholders and reach consensus on interventions. key strategies required for the voice of local communities. Governments need to be repositioned in the EAC integration process and in the global agenda.
This AALGF Annual General Meeting comes after a period of deprivation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed lifestyles. In fact, this meeting has been repeatedly postponed due to COVID-19.
The meetings will focus on strategies related to the COVID-19 recovery to propel trade and regional development in East Africa, the domestication of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in East Africa, the impact of the decentralization and deconcentration system in East Africa as well as the strengthening of engagement with the East African Community as an economic bloc.
Minister Gatabazi said that all member countries are now required to unite their efforts to design an effective mechanism of recovery not only of the Forum to achieve its goals, but also to restore the life and hope of our people in our region. of the EAC.
Gatabazi said forum discussions and strategic actions deliberations should focus on investing in building the sustainability of EALGF actions in general.
This, he said, must go through the localization of the sustainable development goals in East Africa; strengthen engagement with the EAC Secretariat; Local Economic Development (LED) as the engine of EAC trade and regional trade; Impact of decentralization and deconcentration systems on the priorities and future perspectives of the EAC and FALGA.
“We believe these topics will serve to spark a fruitful discussion on how local and county governments are improving collaboration to bring tangible solutions to our communities, especially in this time of economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.” , said Gatabazi.
To achieve this, the meeting will seek to position the EAGF as a driver of the local economic agenda by addressing the different relationships and capacities of and between central government ministries and respective local and county governments, including cities and urban entities.
This will be done with a focus on improving the effective implementation of decentralization and local economic development policies in order to achieve regional economic growth, trade and development as well as achieve the SDGs in the region. .
In addition to the implementation of the mandates and planned actions of EALGA and EALGF, the expected results of these meetings include a better mobilization of members and institutional coordination of EALGA and EALGF, which results in a stronger representative voice of local communities in the EAC integration process.
Other objectives of the meeting include the election of EALGA executive committee members and facilitating transfer by the incumbent, as well as streamlining and resolving EALGA interactions at regional and global levels.
Despite political differences between countries in the region, Kenyan Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Devolution Abdul Bahari Ali Jillo said regional integration remains a priority and learning from each other will be key to getting out of it. successful pandemic economies and communities.
“We are confident in the regional integration process despite our differences. We are here to learn and share best practices from countries like Rwanda so that we can achieve this goal, ”said Jillo.
Former EALGA President Gulamhafeez Abubakar Mukadam also said that the country’s contribution and collaboration with the EAC Secretariat to invest in the activities of the forum will also be essential to move the agenda forward.
According to each year’s budget, each country is expected to contribute around $ 10,000.
“This contribution has been slow and we are happy that Rwanda has supported us in ensuring that we have the finances, but so should the other members,” Mukadam said.
At the close of the EALGA Forum, Rwanda will give way to Tanzania as the next chair of the forum.
Since its launch in 2013, the East African Local Government Forum (FALGA) has continued to support institutional development with a focus on building strong local governments in EAC member states.
This Forum also provides an advocacy framework for our Member States to create systems of governance with a constitutional and statutory devolution of powers, to sub-national units in accordance with the principles of subsidiarity, effective empowerment, equitable sharing of responsibilities and responsibilities. resources and improved service. delivery.